Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The George W. Bush Legacy, Part I

A Thread Dedicated to One of My Favorite Bloggers: ContraTimes!

Contratimes believes that Bill Clinton was the worst president of all times:
I am guilty, very guilty. I did vote for the worst president in history. Didn't anyone else? You mean, I am the only person here who voted for Bill Clinton?
By that standard, on Contratimes's scales, George W. Bush must be the best, or at the very least, among the best. Others are thinking along these same lines, or speculating on Bush's legacy and place in history.

As luck would have it, morning's email brought this in - most unexpectedly - from a close and treasured relative of mine, who happens to chair a brand new non-profit. I attach his email below:
Dear friends and relatives:

I have the distinguished honor of being on the committee to raise $5,000,000 for a monument to George W. Bush.

We originally wanted to put him on Mt. Rushmore until we discovered there was not enough room for two more faces. We then decided to erect a statue of George in the Washington , DC Hall of Fame. We were in a quandary as to where the statue should be placed. It was not proper to place it beside the statue of George Washington, who never told a lie, or beside Richard Nixon, who never told the truth, since George could never tell the difference.

We finally decided to place it beside Christopher Columbus, the greatest Republican of them all. He left not knowing where he was going, and when he got there he did not know where he was. He returned not knowing where he had been, decimated the well-being of the majority of the population while he was there, and did it all on someone else's money.

Thank you,

George W. Bush Monument Committee

P.S.: We have raised $1.35 so far.
Contratimes, if you leave your email in the comments below, I'll see that my cousin adds it to his mailing list. In the meantime, allow me to conclude with observations from Garrison Keillor:
What's worse is the likely fate of the Current Occupant, who is contending with Pierce, Buchanan and Warren G. Harding for the title of All-Time Worst President. He's got a good shot at the title if only because he's had so much more to be worst with. (Any young persons who have been inspired by Mr. Bush to take up public service should be watched very closely.)

I propose that we change Columbus Day to Bush Day, a cautionary holiday, like Halloween, a day to meditate on the hazards of ambition. We could observe it by going through the basement and garage and throwing out stuff we don't want or need. Also, by not mortgaging the house to pay for a vacation, and not yelling at the neighbors, and not assuming that the law is for other people.
Graphic embellishments were added to the email.

Halloween? I Don't Think So!!

Halloween always brings out the worst in people.

At least it has in me. Years ago, instigated by my kids, I went all-out on Halloween. Each year was an escalation on the previous. Until one year, when I perhaps had more Coors than I shoulda, I scared some trickin' and treatin' father off the end of my porch who then proceeded to sprain his ankle on a sprinkler head. As he rose from his grass-stained knees he said, "So, you're Vigil Lante, huh?" (Only he used my real name, of course.) I never forgot the words I saw tattooed on his forehead which said, "I'm suing." At that point I dropped Halloween from my holiday calendar. From then on, the routine became to turn the sprinklers on, turn the lights off, leave the Dobie in the front hall and either go to bed or go out of town to the Long Beach Boat Show.

Never dressed up for office parties. (I guess I also developed a fear of being stopped by a traffic cop or traffic accident and not being taken seriously when I tried to give my side of the story.) I just don't like Halloween, Mardis Gras, New Orleans and people walking around in disguises and burkas and stuff like that. Not that I couldn't think up great get-ups for myself, of course, but I never broke that promise I made to myself that night I referred to above.

Not until last year: I dressed up as the scariest person in the world. When I came home, Redoct confronted me as soon as I got out of my car, blocking my path with the most angry, unearthly sound I had ever heard from him. Not until I unmasked myself could I 'come home'.

So, I say, 'never again', again. Last year, I put that mask in a very safe place to preserve it for a reprise this year. I'm sure that location is also safe from my memory. It's all to the good. This persona is just not funny any more, in any way.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Midnight Epiphany

Never Ignore a Barking Dog at Night.

I begin with a couple of definitions:
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1) - Cite This Source
war Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[wawr]
noun, verb, warred, war-ring, adjective
  1. a conflict carried on by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation; warfare, as by land, sea, or air.
  2. a state or period of armed hostility or active military operations: The two nations were at war with each other.
  3. a contest carried on by force of arms, as in a series of battles or campaigns: the War of 1812.
  4. armed fighting, as a science, profession, activity, or art; methods or principles of waging armed conflict: War is the soldier's business.
  5. Archaic. a battle.
–verb (used without object)
  1. to make or carry on war; fight: to war with a neighboring nation.
American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source
oc·cu·pa·tion (ky-pshn) Pronunciation Key Audio pronunciation of "Occupation" [P]
  1. The act or process of holding or possessing a place.
  2. The state of being held or possessed.
  3. Invasion, conquest, and control of a nation or territory by foreign armed forces.
  4. The military government exercising control over an occupied nation or territory.
In Bush's un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI), there was very little "war". As a matter of fact, when Bush claimed victory, he characterized it as a mere "battle":
Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.
Whether the invasion was a battle or war, it only lasted 42 days, out of the 1,314 total days (to date) we've been there. In other words, we've been engaged in occupation 97% of the duration of Iraquagmire.

Now some people object to the characterization of occupation. Most of the warmongering clique want to elevate Iraquagmire to the "central front in the global war against terror." In fact, it is an occupation.

Even a close blogging friend of mine, whom I hold in high esteem, and with whom I agree 95% of the time, said this:
It is still a war Vigilante. While I agree in a sense, calling it an occupation dishonors the soldiers fighting there . . . . I am nit-picking, but for some reason it is a sore point. An occupation means the occupiers are the government and although we wield a great deal of influence we are not the government.
To which I responded,
Calling it for what it is . . . is not what dishonors our soldiers. Asking our soldiers to maintain an occupation is what is dishonoring and demeaning - of us as a nation.
I hope my friend will not think I am exploiting his words as a foil in a trivial distinction. In fact. this war vs. occupation is not a trivial distinction: it is the central front in the psycholinguistic battle of our time, fought out daily and nightly in our American the media, using language, memes, archetypes, psy-ops, etc.

Take but one example. Two nights ago, Redoct warred with a racoon in my back yard, and I felt compelled to maintain a vigil with (for) him during which I distracted myself by watching CSPAN on my kitchen T.V.

During my first vigil, Karl Rove was speaking at a campaign fund raising party for embattled Tom Reynolds (R-NY). I was immediately struck by what a robust and articulate speaker Rove is - not at all resembling a shadowy, pasty-doughboy image that is often inferred from his treatment in the liberal press. But that impression paled in comparison with the substance of his speech (at least the segment which I watched): it was all WAR. "global war"; "central front in the global war"; "new kind of war", "post 9-11 war"; and most prominently, 'war in Iraq is the most critical issue of this election'. Everything I heard from him was an attempt to elevate the UULUIUOI to the status to WW II's Battle of the Bulge and anoint Bush's global war against "Islamofascism" with some trappings of Churchillian or Rooseveltian gravitas which rightly belongs to The Greatest Generation.

During my second vigil, CSPAN offered up a dialogue with author Mark Steyn, spotlighting his "America Alone: The End Of The World As We Know It” on why European and Islamic anti-Americanism threatens to leave America alone. He also writes a column called “Happy Warrior” for the National Review. Steyn also turned out to be big on "Islamofascism" but not at all happy with the new moderate 'strategizing on Iraq' emanating from the White House. It turned out that he was his biggest on the infamous 'flypaper role' for the UULUIUOI. This role is most authoritatively stated by General Ricardo Sanchez,
This is what I would call a terrorist magnet, where America, being present here in Iraq, creates a target of opportunity... But this is exactly where we want to fight them. ...This will prevent the American people from having to go through their attacks back in the United States.
Steyn did not use the term (at least while I was tuned in), but he did boast that during the duration of Iraquagmire,'there had not been a single terrorist attack on American military installations anywhere in the world'.

The main reason why my friend and I find Bush's mission of occupation of Iraq assigned to our military to be ignoble, demeaning, and 'dishonorable' is that our men and women in uniform are not flypaper, but flesh and blood. Secondly, it's counterproductive, producing jihadists at a faster rate than we can kill them. Thirdly, it promises to be endless. Finally, it is criminal and immoral: as the Ramblings of a Lexington Parrothead pointed out months ago, Iraqis never volunteered to serve as hosts to our flypaper picnic.

My point is that in the central psycholinguistic battle of our time, Bush has established and intends to maintain an uninvited, unwanted and interminable occupation in Iraq, not a war. Occupations are not 'won' or 'lost'; they are ended.
Originally published 24-Oct-06

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Dinner with the General

I Had fun at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner last night.

Pivotal, of course, was a nano-brief conversation with General Wesley Clark (who told me to stuff my blog for the next 10 days or so, and walk precincts).

Later, from the podium, the General rallied local election foot soldiers and paymasters in an impassioned appeal for these last few days and hours of the campaign.

General Clark's keynote was that Democrats have to become a "full-service" party in the tradition of Harry S. Truman. He said that means tough and salient on national security and that there's no better time then at present when there's a vacuum in that department in our current misgovernment.

Ellen Nagler (Broadview) welcomed the event. RJ Eskow (Night Light and The Huffington Post) sang songs such as "Faded Coat of Blue". And Brad Friedman (The Brad Blog) convinced us that voting machines will inevitably bring us into another "constitutional crisis" this November. That is why Democratic candidates not only have to win this year, they have to win BIG.

Monday, October 23, 2006

These Are The Stakes

“These are the stakes” television ad, produced by the Republican National Committee and featuring Osama bin Laden, began a limited run on U.S. cable networks yesterday.

At press time, it's 1,868 days plus two hours (even) on the Osama Clock.Our Republican adversaries have never been long on subtlety, nuance, or irony. What an education is in store for them, if we can just coax them out of their little boxes. Congressional majorities will produce oversight which can conduct kindegarten classes for the GOP Headstart crowd.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

More Inconvenient Truths About Iraq

Where do we go from here?

This election is a referendum on Bush's un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI). We are currently presiding over civil war(s) in Iraq. At stake on November 7th is attainment of a Congressional majority which can mount a modicum of oversight for this catastrophe. Oversight has three dimensions:
  1. How did we really get to where we are?
  2. Who do we trust to lead America, going forward?
  3. What is the range of options within our grasp?
Today, I am addressing #3.

All political candidates of whatever political party, have to restrict themselves to conventional wisdom. The intelligent voter, unless he or she is narcissistic and self-absorbed, cannot expect them to do otherwise. But any loyal, patriotic and reflective voting American owes it to our country to think outside the box.

In order to do that, you have to put aside your blogging surf board for 20 minutes (or so) for some reading and thinking. You can do it here.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The World Series

The October Classic Breaks out today. The 2006 version is not East Coast-West Coast contest. Even though Detroit and St. Louis are 'fly-over sites, but hardly nondescript. Both are authentic franchises from the original 16 teams of MLB's first 50 years. Opposing managers Jim Leyland and Tony La Russa are close friends who have enjoyed close working relationships in the past. Both managers have won a world Series before. This year the winning manager will become the second in history to have won a World Series for both leagues. Watching this series will be a treat to all who enjoy and esteem close competition between close friends. Just like adversaries in the blogosphere, right?

At this time of year, I dust off my list of changes which I feel will "fix" an un-broken game. Touching up the Perfectly Logical and Symmetrical Baseball League up a bit, I came up with a 9th Item.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Who is Tony Judt?

Not what I wanted to write about today. . .

But sometimes you get so
pissed-off ticked-off, you just have to cancel the agenda or bend a detour around it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lost in the Fog of "War"?

Habeas Corpus Act


An act for the better securing the liberty of the subject, and for prevention of imprisonments beyond the seas.

WHEREAS great delays have been used by sheriffs, gaolers and other officers, to whose custody, any of the King's subjects have been committed for criminal or supposed criminal matters, in making returns of writs of habeas corpus to them directed, by standing out an alias and pluries habeas corpus, and sometimes more, and by other shifts to avoid their yielding obedience to such writs, contrary to their duty and the known laws of the land, whereby many of the King's subjects have been and hereafter may be long detained in prison, in such cases where by law they are bailable, to their great charges and vexation.

  • II. For the prevention whereof, and the more speedy relief of all persons imprisoned for any such criminal or supposed criminal matters;
  • (2) be it enacted by the King's most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority thereof. That whensoever any person or persons shall bring any habeas corpus directed unto any sheriff or sheriffs, gaoler, minister or other person whatsoever, for any person in his or their custody, and the said writ shall be served upon the said officer, or left at the gaol or prison with any of the under-officers, under-keepers or deputy of the said officers or keepers, that the said officer or officers, his or their under-officers, under-keepers or deputies, shall within three days after the service thereof as aforesaid (unless the commitment aforesaid were for treason or felony, plainly and specially expressed in the warrant of commitment) upon payment or tender of the charges of bringing the said prisoner, to be ascertained by the judge or court that awarded the same, and endorsed upon the said writ, not exceeding twelve pence per mile, and upon security given by his own bond to pay the charges of carrying back the prisoner, if he shall be remanded by the court or judge to which he shall be brought according to the true intent of this present act, and that he will not make any escape by the way, make return of such writ;
  • (3) and bring or cause to be brought the body of the party so committed or restrained, unto or before the lord chancellor, or lord keeper of the great seal of England for the time being, or the judges or barons of the said court from which the said writ shall issue, or unto and before such other person or persons before whom the said writ is made returnable, according to the command thereof;
  • (4) and shall then likewise certify the true causes of his detainer or imprisonment, unless the commitment of the said party be in any place beyond the distance of twenty miles from the place or places where such court or person is or shall be residing; and if beyond the distance of twenty miles, and not above one hundred miles, then within the space of ten days, and if beyond the distance of one hundred miles, then within the space of twenty days, after such delivery aforesaid, and not longer.
  • III. And to the intent that no sheriff, gaoler or other officer may pretend ignorance of the import of such writ.
  • (2) be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all such writs shall be marked in this manner, Per statutum tricesimo primo Caroli secundi Regis, and shall be signed by the person that awards the same;
  • (3) and if any person or persons shall be or stand committed or detained as aforesaid, for any crime, unless for felony or treason plainly expressed in the warrant of commitment, in the vacation-time, and out of term, it shall and may be lawful to and for the person or persons so committed or detained (other than persons convict or in execution of legal process) or any one on his or their behalf, to appeal or complain to the lord chancellor or lord keeper, or any one of his Majesty's justices, either of the one bench or of the other, or the barons of the exchequer of the degree of the coif;
  • (4) and the said lord chancellor, lord keeper, justices or barons or any of them, upon view of the copy or copies of the warrant or warrants of commitment and detainer, or otherwise upon oath made that such copy or copies were denied to be given by such person or persons in whose custody the prisoner or prisoners is or are detained, are hereby authorized and required, upon request made in writing by such person or persons, or any on his, her, or their behalf, attested and subscribed by two witnesses who were present at the delivery of the same, to award and grant an habeas corpus under the seal of such court whereof he shall then be one of the judges,
  • (5) to be directed to the officer or officers in whose custody the party so committed or detained shall be, returnable immediate before the said lord chancellor or lord keeper or such justice, baron or any other justice or baron of the degree of the coif of any of the said courts;
  • (6) and upon service thereof as aforesaid, the officer or officers, his or their under-officer or under-officers, under-keeper or under-keepers, or their deputy in whose custody the party is so committed or detained, shall within the times respectively before limited, bring such prisoner or prisoners before the said lord chancellor or lord keeper, or such justices, barons or one of them, before whom the said writ is made returnable, and in case of his absence before any other of them, with the return of such writ, and the true causes of the commitment and detainer;
  • (7) and thereupon within two days after the party shall be brought before them, the said lord chancellor or lord keeper, or such justice or baron before whom the prisoner shall be brought as aforesaid, shall discharge the said prisoner from his imprisonment, taking his or their recognizance, with one or more surety or sureties, in any sum according to their discretions, having regard to the quality of the prisoner and nature of the offense, for his or their appearance in the court of the King's bench the term following, or at the next assizes, sessions or general gaol-delivery of and for such county, city or place where the commitment was, or where the offense was committed, or in such other court where the said offense is properly cognizable, as the case shall require, and then shall certify the said writ with the return thereof, and the said recognizance or recognizances unto the said court where such appearance is to be made;
  • (8) unless it shall appear unto the said lord chancellor or lord keeper or justice or justices, or baron or barons, that the party so committed is detained upon a legal process, order or warrant, out of some court that hath jurisdiction of criminal matters, or by some warrant signed and sealed with the hand and seal of any of the said justices or barons, or some justice or justices of the peace, for such matters or offenses for the which by the law the prisoner is not bailable. [...]

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Message to my fellow voters (Nov. 7th)

Throw the Deck Furniture Overboard!!!
With permission from Juan Cole's Informed Comment.
Confessions of a 'Defeatocrat'

Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) is the ranking member on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.
Democrats recognize that we're headed for a far greater disaster in Iraq if we don't change course -- and soon. This is not defeatism. This is realism.

Our troops who are putting their lives on the line deserve a plan that matches our military prowess with diplomatic and political skill. They deserve a clear and achievable mission and they deserve to know precisely what it will take to accomplish it. They deserve answers, not spin.

. . . .We Democrats are determined to restore our nation's military strength, refocus on the real terrorist threat, bolster security safeguards at home and reestablish the credible standing we once had in the world. That is not defeatist. It is a call to formulate and execute a winning game plan for the War on Terror

. . . . The administration's "stay-the-course" strategy is not a plan for victory. It's not even a plan. All we have is a new military blueprint to keep 140,000 troops in Iraq through 2010.

The United States is about to begin its fifth year of occupation and fighting in Iraq. That makes this war longer than U.S. participation in World Wars I and II, and longer than the Korean War and our own Civil War. With every year of occupation, our efforts to fight global terrorism and our military's readiness to fight future wars have further deteriorated, along with our standing in the world. Meanwhile, the radical Islamic cause wins more and more recruits.

. . . but can anyone living in the real world deny that these statistics are heading in the wrong direction? Yet despite this bleak record of performance, the president continues to stand by his team of failed architects, preferring to prop them up instead of demanding accountability.

. . . . We are seeing an astonishing and unprecedented parade of retired U.S. generals calling for a new direction in Iraq. These are voices of bravery, experience, conscience and loyalty. These are men who have been taught to look coldly and objectively at the facts of bloodshed. Can they all be wrong? How about the 15 intelligence agencies that recently offered the opinion that this war has not made us safer? Are they all defeatists? Are they to be ignored?

. . . . Democrats are fighting a war on two fronts: One is combating the spin and intimidation that defines this administration. The other is fighting to change course, to do things better, to substitute smart, disciplined strategy for dogma and denial in Iraq.

That's not defeatism. That's our duty.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Brits Want Out of Iraq!!

Their Mission Is Accomplished?

Sir Richard's Daily Mail Interview:

The new head of the British Army, Chief of the General Staff General Sir Richard Dannatt, has told the Daily Mail that UK troops should withdraw from Iraq "soon".

He said their continued presence "exacerbates the security problems" in the country. Here is what he said:
We are in a Muslim country and Muslims' views of foreigners in their country are quite clear. As a foreigner you can be welcomed by being invited in a country, but we weren't invited certainly by those in Iraq at the time.

The military campaign we fought in 2003 effectively kicked the door in.
The way to get out is to modify our mission statement:
The original intention was that we put in place a liberal democracy that was an exemplar for the region, was pro-West and might have a beneficial effect on the balance within the Middle East. That was the hope.

Whether that was a sensible or naive hope, history will judge. I don't think we are going to do that. I think we should aim for a lower ambition.
The Occupation is going nowhere:
. . . . History will show that a vacuum was created and into the vacuum malign elements moved. The hope that we might have been able to get out of Iraq in 12, 18, 24 months after the initial start in 2003, has proved fallacious.

. . . . I don't say that the difficulties we are experiencing around the world are caused by our presence in Iraq, but undoubtedly our presence in Iraq exacerbates them.
On the real central front on the global war on terror:
There is a clear distinction between our status and position in Iraq and in Afghanistan, which is why I have much more optimism that we can get it right in Afghanistan.
On his son Bertie, who was a platoon commander in Iraq until a couple of months ago:
It was tough: three of his contemporaries, young officers, have been killed. There is a lot of pressure on young commanders. When my son was deployed he got into some quite hairy situations.

I am still a dad as well as being Chief of the General Staff. I wouldn't send an army where I wouldn't send my own child.
Shock and Awe, Baby...

Monday, October 9, 2006

Darfur's Delusions

Pounding on the U.N. is compounding the problem.

Darfur is a crime scene. Estimates of deaths in the conflict have ranged from 50,000 to 450,000 with most centering at the high end. Tales of the Janjaweed [meaning "a man with a horse and a gun"], reinforced by the Sudanese national air force, engaging in wholesale massacres and ethnic cleansing have horrified and outraged the world. A deployment of African Union forces are barely adequate to observe and document these atrocities.

Many well-meaning people, involuntary witnesses to the first (arguably) 21st century case of genocide, flagellate themselves into demonstrations, petitions, letter-writing - into any and all actions which can exonerate themselves from complicity. In my own, once great country, liberals and conservatives alike have understandably been aroused from their preoccupations with assorted apolitical distractions and implore,


And the answer is yes! We would do something because we 'can'. Bush, putatively, is providing the leadership. Listen to Wizard beating the cheer leading drums:
It certainly should be noted that President Bush has been the strongest supporter for African issues . . . Darfur . . . And it should be noted that George Bush, Condoleeza Rice and John Bolton have led the fight for U.N. action.
Ah, there's the rub: It's the United Nations -- the usual suspect and constant whipping boy for American conservatism -- that is responsible for inaction on this moral crusade.
Wizard, himself, piling on in the attack, 2-Sep-06:
. . . . in just three short days, the complete bankruptcy of the United Nations has been exposed.

The United Nations is a toothless tiger. . . .

But the U.N proves to be a great ally to countries like Iran and Sudan because it ties up the larger and theoretically more powerful nations in endless negotiations and spineless rhetoric. . . . The United Nations is worse than useless, it actually empowers tyrants and terrorists and aids their cause.
(As I pointed out to Wizard, when I read this for the first time, the U.N. was also ineffectual in preventing the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq.) But "worse than useless"? That certainly goes beyond John Bolton's famous observation that the U.N. provides useful cover for American foreign policy:
There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world and that is the United States when it suits our interest and we can get others to go along.
If Bolton is correct, It's beyond me how Wizard or anyone else can blame the U.N. for anything anymore: any deficiencies in the U.N. can be laid at the feet of insufficient American statesmanship.

But, where, then, does the buck stop on Darfur? Listen to Wizard quoting with approval from an early apostle of Bush's current moral crusade in Iraquagmire, Mort Kondracke:
if the U.N. is going to fail in this endeavor, and it seems to me that their delaying action while the Janjaweed and the Sudanese go around raping and killing people by the hundreds of thousands and it could be another one hundred thousand people get killed, there ought to be a way for the United States if necessary to organize a posse, the cavalry, a force, it doesn't have to be that many people, to go do it. . . . To do whatever it takes. And then organize the holding force later.
What was that? a. . . "posse, the cavalry. . . . organize the holding force later . . ."? Is this not the same bromide -- Kool Aid -- that promised us a quick, painless and clean solution in Iraq?

Believe me when I say, the Sudan government sees the reality behind the pretenses of Neocon pundits even if the Darfurs and many of my fellow Americans do not. A recent message from the Khartoum government read:
In the absence of Sudan's consent to the deployment of U.N. troops, any volunteering to provide peace keeping troops to Darfur will be considered as a hostile act, a prelude to an invasion of a member country of the United Nations.
In other words, "Up Yours"! In other words, "Don't try to Iraq us"! In other words, a "posse won't do, and more you don't have."

The facts are that the West doesn't have the troops to back up any writ they want the U.N. to put on Darfur. There are not enough boots for this ground. Look at Iraq. Look at the unfulfilled pledges for Lebanon. Look at how inadequate American and NATO assets are in the only real war against terror forced upon us Americans by al Qaeda and the Taliban! There, again, Americans are not getting the real story in Afghanistan! Look at Bush's unanswered challenges represented by Iran and North Korea!

My fellow Americans (along with Wizard) should face the fact that -- for Darfur -- there is no additional margin of troops, military assets, financial resources, or moral leadership available to the West, thanks to Iraquagmire. Even the U.N. is implicated (by Iraq and Lebanon) and suspect in Arab eyes.

But Americans are not the only ones deceived by Bush and Blair's duplicity. The Darfurs themselves are convinced that Anglo-American cavalry is just over the horizon.

Darfur is an unmistakably on-going human tragedy. I respect well-meaning people around the world who are attempting to deal with it in their own way.

At the same time I can't avoid the suspicion that Bush and Blair and their fellow travelers are cynically parlaying their specious and phony solutions for ulterior political reasons. It's as if they are looking for anything to get Iraquagmire off the front page; as one headline asks,

Friday, October 6, 2006

The World Can't Wait

Four words are worth
a 1000 pictures.

I just
don't have
enough room.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Thanks for the compliment, Wizard. . . .

But this one is for you....

I have refrained from joining in the chorale feeding frenzy on Mark Foley, as the Wizard rightly observed in a comment on my previous post. Part of my restraint comes from a hope that Progressives distinguish themselves from 'regressives' and 'retrogressives' in taking the high road on issues and not the low road of the politics of personal destruction. And another part comes from a sensibility that one should not take his eye off the ball in the main ball game - the strategic 'big' picture - which is the central subject and purpose of this Vigil I am keeping.

That big picture is Bush, himself. Bush and his extra-constitutional excesses, foreign and domestic, which threaten to shake and erode our American heritage to its foundations every day he remains in office. But that's just me and my personal thing with Bush.

I do not minimize or otherwise find fault with pundits, comedians, bloggers or demonstrators who are thrilling to the chase from Foley to Hastert and beyond. Liberals will do what Liberals will do. I wish them well and Godspeed in dismantling the GOP machine, wherever it shows weakness, brick by rotting, crumbling brick. The sooner we have Congressional majorities, the sooner we can have oversight, the sooner we can have subpoenas and sworn testimonies and the sooner we can get the truth out, etc., etc. At the end of this road, sooner or later, we will get to the man himself. As I said this morning on The Enigmatic Paradox,
I don't really care who joins in on tearing the clothes off the emperor. I'm just impatient to see all his soiled and torn remnants on the floor.
My real problem is with certain complacent Liberals and traditional tax-minded conservatives who say they 'don't like Bush much but, oh well, he'll be gone in a couple of years'. These so-called anti-Bush ("tch-tch") conservatives can be thought of as Weimar Republicans: along with the passive liberals, they pretend that Bushsolini and Rovebbels are running just one more in a long line of Republican presidencies, peopled by superannuated ex-prep boys and fraternity pranksters, recipients of 'legacy' privileges at Ivy League colleges and who are preoccupied with avoiding their estate taxes. They are deluding themselves.

Bush and Cheney are not so much constitutionally-guided office holders as they are members of a megalomaniacal junta driven to maximize power at the expense of the constitution. As such, it will not be sufficient merely to throw their party out in 2008, as in the normal natural order of succession in American politics. These Neocons have wreaked such a potentially lasting and devastating effect on our domestic order and international standing, that they have to be repudiated through impeachment before their term is up.

It will simply not do for the American electoral system to merely digest them for another two years and excrete them in 2008. This crud has to be puked out before it rots our Constitution any further.

The Numbers Game.

The Tragically Bad News: 21 US troops have been killed in Iraq since Saturday, with 8 killed on Monday alone.

The Good News: The American people smell the coffee on Bush's un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI), and they don't cotton to its bitter taste.

According to the latest CNN Poll:
  • 39% think Bush is doing a good job as president.

  • 42% will vote for the Republican candidate in November.

  • 53% said that they planned to vote Democrat in November.

  • 57% said the Iraq War has made the US less safe from terrorism.

  • 58% said that the Bush administration misled the public on how the war is going.

  • 59% said they disapprove of the job Bush is doing as president.

  • 61% said that they oppose the Iraq War.

  • 66% said that they disapprove of the way that Bush is handling the Iraq War.
The Bastards are not yet on the run, but their worm has turned.

BTW, speaking of numbers and
as a matter of historical perspective, who can tell me how many times Bush used the word "IRAQ" in his second inaugural speech on 20-Jan-05?

Sunday, October 1, 2006

GOOD NEWS: Of Doggies & Dodgers!!!

1. My faithful companion, Redoct, has reached (today) his 12th birthday!

Yes, he's a red Doberman Pinscher.Yes, he was born on the 1st of October. And yes, that is a hamburger birthday cake.

I have lived with Redoct all his life. He continues to give me his all, while I return only a portion of my attention and my day to him. That's his lot as a dawg, maybe; but neither of us are satisfied with this bargain in our lives.

He is a DAWG among dogs. In his long life, Redoct has thoroughly mastered two California communities, four off-the-leash dog parks, three public beaches, the finer points of ultimate frisbee, tennis (wherever/whenever it has been attempted in his presence), stick-retrieval, body-surfing and can out run/swim/think any labrador he has encountered. In canine public with his peers, he has given as good as he got.

In the all important field of homeland security, he has attained the rank of serial killer with a rodent body count deep into double digits. With a beast like Redoct on your bed, there is no need to sleep with a loaded shotgun; several times in the course of a night he will rise, go out and make his rounds, turning on the motion-sensoring external light to mark his progress. At the same time, he has always been gentle protector of all our grand children.

Redoct, as a life-time learner, disproves the addage that you can't teach old dogs new tricks. He currently is learning to bark everytime George Bush's voice is heard on the radio or TV.

Did anyone notice the newspaper in the backdrop to the birthday burger? Yes!! It's foreshadowing...

Good News #2! Dodgers!!!

2. The Dodgers are in the playoffs!

How many of these are household names? I mean I mean apart from Gagne (DL), Garciaparra, Kent, Lofton and Maddux.

This team has put together winning and losing streaks, untimely injuries and timely acquisitions and proved that leadership, chemistry and full use of a deep line-up can produce a sterling performance over 162 games.
Beware, New York. Be very wary.