116!!! MY OH MY!!!
The Seattle Mariners beat Texas 1-0 with A-Rod foul tipping into Wilson's glove. Sweet 116!
One game to go. 117?!?!
Let the economic stimulus games begin.
"In order to stimulate the economy, Congress doesn't need to spend any more money; what they need to do is to cut taxes," said Bush, fleshing out the details of his $60 billion to $75 billion plan to shore up the flagging economy after last month's hijack attacks.
The strongest criticism of the Bush plan was aimed at a proposal to use $11 billion from the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expand health insurance coverage to low-income Americans, especially workers who have lost their jobs. The $11 billion could be spent to provide health insurance coverage for adults, not just children in low-income families, the original purpose of the program.
Responding to the demands of Republicans in Congress, President Bush has laid out a stimulus package that relies in large part on ineffective, irresponsible and regressive tax cuts. He gave short shrift to Democratic demands that the stimulus contain government spending designed to boost the economy as well.
Calling all Keynesians
This reluctance to act boldly will have to change very quickly. The economy was already in contraction before September 11. It needs hundreds of billions in new federal spending--yes, deficit spending--to counteract the great shrinkage under way in consumption and business investment. No one knows the severity of what's unfolding, but false optimism will make things much worse. Acting too fast and spending too much have economic risks, but none compare to what can unfold if Washington is too timid.
But, when you cut through all the bullshit, it comes down to this:
A Republican leadership aide was more direct, saying, "Bush decided to go with the people who brought him to the dance."
Who would of guessed?
And just who was elected President?
What if a consortium of prestigious news organizations, including the New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, banded together and spent the last nine months (and $1 million) analyzing disputed ballots from last year's divisive presidential election in Florida. And then, just as the results were about to be released, terrorists attacked America and the nation responded by declaring war on terrorism.
Shortly after last month's terrorist attacks, two bricks ferried handwritten notes with crude, racist remarks through the front window of the Old Town Islamic Bookstore in Alexandria. Store manager Hazim Barakat was angry and frazzled. The Palestinian immigrant also was unprepared for what happened next.
About 15 bouquets of flowers and more than 50 cards -- some with money -- arrived at his store. People from as far away as Tennessee and Nebraska called with condolences. A local businessman, who would not give Barakat his name, paid for a new window. Christian ministers and a rabbi dropped by to express their support.
thanks to MetaFilter
While there has been a lot of coverage of America's dark side, the racist, jingoist, saber rattling side, it is these actions that demonstrate the real America. Even Bush called for tolerance and visited a mosque. There has been more a positive awareness of our muslim neighbors since 9-11. We can only hope that it is this America that prevails.
A couple of background pieces. The first from 1990.
Islam is one of the world's great religions. Let me be explicit about what I, as a historian of Islam who is not a Muslim, mean by that. Islam has brought comfort and peace of mind to countless millions of men and women. It has given dignity and meaning to drab and impoverished lives. It has taught people of different races to live in brotherhood and people of different creeds to live side by side in reasonable tolerance. It inspired a great civilization in which others besides Muslims lived creative and useful lives and which, by its achievement, enriched the whole world. But Islam, like other religions, has also known periods when it inspired in some of its followers a mood of hatred and violence. It is our misfortune that part, though by no means all or even most, of the Muslim world is now going through such a period, and that much, though again not all, of that hatred is directed against us.
The present war, if that is the correct word, may very well be, as President Bush has observed, a war of a new kind--the "first war of the twenty-first century." But in one important respect, the present war also appears to be--and this, too, the president has hinted at indirectly--a war of an old kind, perhaps even the last war of the twentieth century. The terror assault was an astonishing event, but also a familiar event. And so it is possible, by glancing at the century that has just passed, to hazard a few guesses about the torrent of events that is already pouring over us.
thanks to MetaFilter
The following raises some questions on the real source of the terrorism.
Bin Laden and his gang are just the tentacles; the head lies safely in Saudi Arabia, protected by US forces.
Two games left.
The British have released the case against Osama bin Laden.
Blair's Case Against Osama Bin Laden
As Fisk reports, the "evidence" is irrelevant or conjecture.
The Americans are finding it a hard sell in the Middle East, and the British Government's document "proving" Osama bin Laden's responsibility for the 11 September atrocities is unlikely to rally the Arab world to the West's "war on terrorism". Only nine of the 70 points in the document relate to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and these often rely on conjecture rather than evidence. Claiming that "an operation on the scale of the 11 September attacks would have been approved by Osama bin Laden himself" (point 63) is not going to cut much ice in Saudi Arabia or other Gulf states.
Susan Schmidt and Bob Woodward at the Washington Post report that the FBI has found no links to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
The FBI has found no links between any of the 19 alleged hijackers or their possible accomplices and any of the 1,000 to 2,000 suspected terrorist sympathizers in this country, including known Al Qaeda supporters, lawmakers were told. The group that conducted the Sept. 11 attacks and anyone who might have helped it operated as a closed unit and there may be other such cells as yet undetected by law enforcement, some members of Congress were told.
"The investigative case has to take a back seat to preventing the next terrorist act," a senior law enforcement official said. "That comes right from the top, from the president of the United States on down."
thanks to Ethel the Blog
Apparently finding that link isn't that important. Bush and Ashcroft will just scare the bejeesus out of everyone with the possibility of new attacks and hope no one will notice that they don't have any proof of who did it.
And something that Bush should be thinking about:
Politics as Usual
The political aftermath of the terrorist attack on the United States is the least of our concerns now, and properly. But beneath the calls for bipartisan unity in the coming months, the congressional politics of 2002 and the presidential politics of 2004 will take shape, for war does not adjourn democracy in America. The historical precedents of war's effect on politics cannot be encouraging for President George W. Bush.
But the portent with the most meaning for George W. Bush is his father's defeat by Bill Clinton in 1992—this after Bush senior racked up approval ratings of 90 percent the year before for his handling of the Gulf War. The build-up to the Gulf War in the fall of 1990 coincided with the onset of an economic recession, whose ill effects outweighed any benefits Bush could derive as the liberator of Kuwait. His son is in precisely those circumstances today—on the edge of war and recession—and his father's war is responsible for this war. Bush senior's deployment of troops to protect Saudi Arabian oil from Saddam Hussein touched off the terrorist campaign against the United States that has now come back to haunt the younger Bush and afflict his country. Repetition is not the pattern of history; tragic irony is.
Want to find out about a country? Like, where the hell is Tajikistan? Or Uzbekistan? Or Qatar?
Not only do you get a map but information on geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues. All thanks to the CIA.
RAWA is a political/social organization of Afghan women struggling for peace, freedom, democracy and women's rights in fundamentalism-blighted Afghanistan.
thanks to Doc Searls
The most disturbing aspect of Chapter 11, however, is not its private arbitration system but its expansive new definition of property rights--far beyond the established terms in US jurisprudence and with a potential to override established rights in domestic law. NAFTA's new investor protections actually mimic a radical revision of constitutional law that the American right has been aggressively pushing for years--redefining public regulation as a government "taking" of private property that requires compensation to the owners, just as when government takes private land for a highway or park it has to pay its fair value. Because any new regulation is bound to have some economic impact on private assets, this doctrine is a formula to shrink the reach of modern government and cripple the regulatory state--undermining long-established protections for social welfare and economic justice, environmental values and individual rights. Right-wing advocates frankly state that objective--restoring the primacy of property against society's broader claims. A tentative majority on the Supreme Court agrees in theory--the same five who selected George W. Bush as President.
"NAFTA checks the excesses of unilateral sovereignty," Washington lawyer Daniel Price told a scholarly forum in Cleveland. He ought to know, since he was the lead US negotiator on Chapter 11 a decade ago. As for anyone troubled by the intrusions on US sovereignty, he said, "My only advice is, get over it." Price, who heads international practice at Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy, a premiere Washington firm, says that contrary to the widely held assumption that suits like Methanex's represent an unintended consequence of NAFTA, the architects of NAFTA knew exactly what they were creating. "The parties did not stumble into this," he said. "This was a carefully crafted definition."
When he speaks of "unilateral sovereignty", he speaks of the rights of people, through their government, to protect themselves from the greed of the corporations.
On the news front. It's not sufficient that our government controls the media in this country.
THE FCC, THE MEDIA, AND WAR
It's widely acknowledged that media mergers, consolidations of ownership and pressure from advertisers all have a detrimental affect on how well the media report the facts. But there's something else that may limit how well the media could stand up to government power -- particularly as our government moves to waging war.
Ultimately, it's the Federal Communications Commission -- appointed by the president -- that controls who gets a broadcast license. The FCC not only sanctions networks' ability to broadcast, it also approves mergers that fatten the bottom line of media conglomerates.
They feel they can contol the media around the world.
The Bush administration is pressuring Qatar to restrain the al-Jazeera cable TV network, which the United States believes is unbalanced and encourages anti-American sentiment in the Middle East, the State Department said Wednesday.
both thanks to Spin of the Day
I guess when shrub talks about the U.S. representing freedom he was talking about the freedom of the U.S. government to tell the world what to think.
ENTERPRISE CREW SPLIT OVER VIOLATING PRIME DIRECTIVE, INTERVENING TO SAVE EARTH FROM ITSELF
Disturbed by ruthless terrorist attacks and talk of war, the crew of the starship Enterprise, which has been stealthily orbiting Earth since August, is reportedly torn over whether to violate Star Fleet's Prime Directive and intervene in Earth affairs, or gather for drinks in the forward observation lounge and watch the planet go to shit.
The Seattle Mariners beat Texas 16-1 to tie the American League Record for wins. Three games to go. Tomorrow they can own the American League record. Two games behind the major league record set in 1906. 1906!
A couple of quick ones. I'm under a deadline to get a poster out for a TestingTesting concert coming up. More on that soon.
Let's start by doing some thinking
Back from a month in Europe, I meant to begin by suggesting it's time to start thinking outside the box. Then I got back to Texas. The sign outside our neighborhood strip joint says, "Hot Babes, Cold Beer, Nuke 'Em, GW." Actually, let's start by thinking.
A great site that takes a critical look at some of the blathering going on:
Spinsanity exposes and analyzes the increasingly pervasive use of manipulative and subrational rhetoric in American politics.
It's always interesting to look at a some forgotten history of the Gulf War to see repeating patterns in America's New War.
Former U. S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark discusses U. S. oil interests in "The Fire This Time "(Thunder's Mouth Press, 1994.) Clark writes that Iraq has been a target of CIA activity for years and that in order to justify the Gulf War, the CIA worked to provoke Iraq to invade Kuwait. The official spin was that Iraq caused the Gulf War by invading Kuwait. The American people were never told that our own CIA provoked the invasion.
Clark also writes, "The Pentagon's challenge was to figure out what would force Iraq, a country more interested in rebuilding than expansion, to take some action that would justify U. S. military intervention." Today is a good time to ask, what would force Americans, the U. S. Congress and the rest of the world to support stepped-up, indefinitely long U. S. military intervention in the Middle East?
Ramsey Clark also writes, "It was not Iraq but powerful forces in the United States that wanted a new war in the Middle East: the Pentagon, to maintain its tremendous budget; the military-industrial complex, with its dependence on Middle East arms sales and domestic military contracts; the oil companies, which wanted more control over the price of crude oil and greater profits; and the Bush administration, which saw in the Soviet Union's disintegration its chance to establish a permanent military presence in the Middle East, securing the region and achieving vast geopolitical power into the next century through control of its oil resources."
thanks to SmirkingChimp.com
On a lighter note...
The Seattle Mariners beat the Angels 14-5. Five games left. One at Anaheim and four at home against Texas.
There are no end of things to get one upset nowadays. But here is one that could put a lot of people off the meter.
THE MEDIA COVER-UP OF THE GORE VICTORY
According to a source whose previous information has proven to be accurate, the Consortium of news organizations that recounted the presidential votes in the 2000 Florida election was shocked to find that former Vice President Al Gore decisively won the state, and it is now concealing the news of Gore’s victory from the American people
Originally, the Consortium believed that there were three potential outcomes of the recount, any of which would have been acceptable to the participating news conglomerates. The first was a Bush win, which would have resolved the issue. The second was a dead heat/inconclusive result, which would have maintained the status quo. The third was a narrow Gore victory, which would have given die hard Democrats a debate point, but would have simply been another photo finish recount that most Americans would have disregarded as being currently irrelevant.
The Consortium was stunned to discover that the recount revealed Gore won a clear victory. Even after casting aside the controversial butterfly ballots and discarding ballots that were “iffy”, Gore decisively won the recount. While the precise numbers are still unavailable, a New York Times journalist who was involved in the project told one of his former companions that Gore won by a sufficient margin to create “major trouble for the Bush presidency if this ever gets out”.
Gore’s victory was large enough that it became apparent he would win prior to the Consortium recount being fully completed. And contrary to a recent claim by the New York Times, the terrorism of September 11 was not the crucial factor that determined whether to release the results to the American people. Prior to that time, the de facto majority shareholders in the publicly traded New York Times Company reportedly intervened on the side of quashing the recount results and convinced the other participants to shelve the story. The executive claims that the most important decisions at the Times are made by the influential money center banks that exercise actual voting control of a majority of stock. These banks are extremely pro-Bush. In addition to their control of the Times, they have substantial financial clout with the Washington Post Company, Dow Jones and Company, and the Tribune Company. As a result, the banks exert tremendous influence on a majority of the Consortium.
The huge disparity between the original recount and the Consortium recount stems from the G.O.P. tactics in Florida. Their strategy was to aggressively contest every pro-Gore ballot, even the obviously valid ones. The Republicans then accused the vote counters of being biased because most of the challenges were resolved in favor of Gore. By using this approach, the Bush partisans successfully intimidated the counters into bending over backwards to show “fairness”, resulting in thousands of legitimate Gore votes being disqualified or relegated to a pile of disputed ballots.
“It was the old baseball manager’s trick of crying about every call in order to pressure the umpire to give you more than your fair share,” said the executive. “And it worked in Florida. However, in the relative calm of the Consortium recount - absent the pressure tactics - the Bush total remained basically consistent with the original count, while the Gore total shot way up.”
When the New York Times announced that they wouldn't be releasing the results I just sort of went "Huh?" and didn't think a lot about it - there being many other things to think about. Now that I stop to think about this, it makes sense. Would the consortium not release the results if Bush had won? They would have been falling all over themselves to get the numbers out if that was the case. What originally crossed my mind is that maybe there was a miniscule Gore victory that would not prove much. The accusations here are something else all together.
If these accusations are true then something has been done to this country that is far worse than the acts on 9-11. If these accusations are true then we have watched a right wing coup happen right before our eyes and we did nothing. If these accusations are true then the last vestiges of democracy in this country have been destroyed. And those guilty of this are guilty of treason. From the Supreme Court to the thugs that kept the counting from happening.
It's also sad to see how far our newspapers have sunk. It was the New York Times and the Washington Post that published the Pentagon Papers. It was the Washington Post that let Woodard and Bernstein report the truth of Watergate. Now they hide the truth of a Presidential election from the American public. They have truly become the whores of the rich.
It is imperative that the results be published. If they show a close race, so be it. But if these accusations are true there will be hell to pay.
And, to top it all off, here is Ethel's Quote of the Week.
"Why of course the people don't want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."
Texas' unemployment insurance fund appears headed for insolvency. So does New York's. More than a dozen states have little or no money for extra welfare benefits in case of recession, and the federal program designed to back them up expired over the weekend.
The problems are most extreme in Texas, where officials acknowledged last week that the combination of an employer tax cut supported by then-Gov. George W. Bush last year and a recent jump in jobless benefit claims is draining the state's Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.
thanks to Ethel the Blog
Now we pay for years of reducing the safety net. "We need to get those bums off of welfare!" "They need to get off their lazy butts and get a job!" Tell that to all those airline workers suddenly out of a job. I wonder if all those middle class people who voted for Bush, that will be getting laid off, will see this in a different light when they have little or no benefits to fall back on and they get to fight for minimum wage jobs at McDonalds? They will discover that the Republicans are not looking out for them. The Republicans are just looking out for their bosses. Let's not forget those Democrats that have gone along with this.
President Bush's chief economic adviser said Tuesday there is a high probability the U.S. economy will have two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth -- the textbook definition of a recession.
A senior Bush aide said the president wants three main components:
--Incentives to help businesses, such as accelerating depreciation and boosting expensing write-offs for equipment, eliminating the alternative minimum tax paid by some companies and possibly cutting corporate tax rates.
--Incentives to help individuals, such as providing a new round of tax rebates or hastening some of the tax cuts Bush pushed through Congress this year.
--Incentives to help displaced workers, such as extending unemployment benefits at least 13 weeks beyond the 26-week maximum, helping people pay for health insurance and more than doubling the roughly $200 million-a-year Labor Department emergency grant program
I find the order of the proposals interesting. First we give more money to business. And cut their taxes. Then we cut taxes for individuals. Of course, if you don't have a job this might not be such a big deal. Then we increase unemployement benefits by 50% and add $200 million to the emergency grant program. This is after giving $15 billion to the airlines.
And on the Middle East front...
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres lashed out at his nation's military Monday, accusing a senior officer of wanting to assassinate Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, as violence threatened to torpedo the cease-fire announced last week.
The 78-year-old statesman, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Arafat as co-architect of the 1993 Oslo peace accords, said the deaths of nine Palestinians in the Gaza Strip the day the cease-fire was signed had endangered the agreement. He also complained that Maj. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, the army deputy chief of staff, wants Arafat assassinated.
"Let's say we assassinate him," Peres told interviewer Nahum Barnea, one of Israel's most respected political analysts. "What happens next? With all the criticism of Arafat, he is the Palestinian who recognizes the map on which Jordan and Israel exist. In his place will come Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah."
Peres also expressed sympathy for the man many Israelis now consider public enemy No. 1. At their meeting last week, Arafat was "very serious--worried," Peres said. "He's afraid that we want to get rid of him. We're simplistic. Insensitive to his problems. We turn our back on the distress in the territories."
Peres also took issue with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's demand that Arafat halt all attacks before political negotiations resume, saying it is the equivalent of ordering Israel's transportation minister to stop all traffic accidents. He dismissed Sharon's characterization of Arafat as "Israel's Osama bin Laden," a reference to the Saudi militant whom U.S. officials consider the prime suspect in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
In Monday's interview, Peres said Sharon must soon make the sort of decision that Israel's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, made when he accepted the partition of Palestine into two states, one for Jews and one for Palestinians. To preserve Israel as a Jewish, democratic state, the foreign minister said, Sharon will have to give up the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza and draw the nation's borders at its pre-1967 boundary.
Tonight's TestingTesting with Don Bille and Elaine Woods was an evening of old time folk music. Good stuff. The sound and pictures are up.
I break my blogging fast.
This article documents the increasing control of the media by the government, for political reasons, in war reporting. Based on what the government did on the last three wars (Grenada, Panama, and the Gulf War) I think it is safe to say that pretty much everything they are telling us is a lie. Who is going to tell us the truth? Not our media.
In this edited summary, the report concludes that information about Defense Department activities . . . [was] restricted or manipulated not for national security purposes, but for political purposes -- to protect the image and priorities of the Defense Department and its civilian leaders, including the president.
The Gulf War included unprecedented restrictions on the press by the military, and an extensive campaign by the White House and the Pentagon to influence public opinion by presenting Americans with carefully controlled images and information concerning the conflict and the issues surrounding the Bush administration's decision to use U.S. troops to resolve the crisis. The result was a defeat for the First Amendment guarantee of press freedom and the public's right to independent information about the political decisions that can lead to U.S. military involvement abroad, and the ramifications of such involvement. This study examines the controversies surrounding restrictions on the media during the Gulf War and two major U.S. offensive military operations in the 1980s: the invasions of Grenada and Panama.
One article written for a U.S. Naval War College publication outlined the lessons that the Pentagon could learn from the Falklands model. To maintain public support for a war, the article said, a government should sanitize the visual images of war; control media access to military theaters; censor information that could upset readers or viewers; and exclude journalists who would not write favorable stories. The Pentagon used all these techniques to one extent or another during subsequent wars.
thanks to wood s lot
Everything is set up for tonight's TestingTesting with with Don and Elaine. The bread is ready to go into the oven. The musicians will be arriving in about an hour. Click on in for an evening of friendly music. It starts at 7pm (pacific).
TestingTesting is a music webcast that I do from my living room every other Monday night. Tomorrow night is one of those nights. It takes a lot of time to set up and archive so I won't be blogging again until Tuesday. Do drop by Monday night at 7pm (pacific) to listen in.
Until then, here are two pieces of commentary.
Terrorism and the Four Freedoms
I have read an amazing amount of material over the last two and a half weeks but nothing puts it together, for me, as this 91 year old woman has. She has seen it all and isn't afraid to call it like it is. In the middle she quotes from an FDR speech.
Sixty years and eight months ago Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his "four freedoms" State of the Nation speech to Congress as he prepared the nation for war. In it, he laid down the sensible and humane preconditions for future world peace and democracy.
If Mr. Bush insists on preparing us for his war against evil, let him learn from that great speech.
She quotes from the end of his speech and contrasts Bush's actions to FDR's speech. It just makes you want to cry. Read it. It ends up with the following.
"The ultimate weakness of violence," Dr. King taught us, "is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it... Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate.... adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
Terrorism makes it hard for us to do the right thing, but do it we must
Old "Fighting Bob" LaFollette, that great reformer, said that "war is the money-changer's opportunity, and the social reformer's doom." But we will not accept doom. We will keep going. It is a time for all of us to speak the truth with courage and hope. America is, despite all, still the best hope for the world. But we are a work in progress, and we all have some work to do right now. It is the work of peace, of frank education, of making our lives and our communities more sustainable and less dependent on the suffering of others, and of cleaning up a campaign finance system that has allowed our elected leaders to represent not our interests and values, but those of international corporations who are set on world domination and who have the resources to buy our government away from us if we will let them. We will not, so long as we live, and so long as our four freedoms are our guiding lights and inspiration
thanks to Red Rock Eater Digest
I might add that I haven't seen anything on the web that has the quality of links to what is going on around us as Red Rock Eater Digest.
The following is a piece from the Guardian in the UK. [I find their reporting and commentary to be excellent.] The piece is written by a Turk, Orhan Pamuk. He is a writer with a very interesting book out - My Name is Red. The situation we find ourselves in has many facets. Here is another facet.
Listen to the damned
Those who give unconditional backing to military attacks to demonstrate America's military strength and teach terrorists "a lesson", who cheerfully discuss on television where American planes will bomb as if playing a video game, should know that impulsive decisions to engage in war will aggravate the hostility towards the west felt by millions in Islamic countries and poverty-stricken regions. This gives rise to feelings of humiliation and inferiority. It is neither Islam nor even poverty itself directly that succours terrorists whose ferocity and creativity are unprecedented in human history, but the crushing humiliation that has infected third world countries like cancer.
Never has the gulf between rich and poor been so wide. It might be argued that the wealth of rich countries is their own achievement and does not concern the poor of the world, but never have the lives of the rich been so forcibly brought to the attention of the poor through television and Hollywood films.
Today, an ordinary citizen of a poor Muslim country without democracy, or a civil servant in a third world country or a former socialist republic struggling to make ends meet, is aware of how insubstantial an amount of the world's wealth falls to his share and that his living conditions, so much harsher than those of a westerner, condemn him to a much shorter life. At the same time, a corner of his mind senses that his poverty is the fault of his own folly, or that of his father and grandfather.
The Seattle Mariners beat Oakland and tie the 1954 Indians at 111 wins! Only two teams with more wins. Ever. The 1998 Yankees at 114 wins and the 1906 Cubs at 116 wins. 6 games left.
A very disturbing report on the mindset of some of Bush's advisors.
As war begins in Afghanistan, so does the assault on the White House - to win the ear and signed orders of the military's Commander in Chief, President George W. Bush, for what Pentagon hawks call 'Operation Infinite War'.
The Observer has learnt that two detailed proposals for warfare without limit were presented to the President this week by his Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, both of which were temporarily put aside but remain on hold.
The plans put before the President during the past few days involve expanding the war beyond Afghanistan to include similar incursions by special ops forces - followed by air strikes by the bombers they would guide - into Iraq, Syria and the Beqaa Valley area of Lebanon, where the Syrian-backed Hizbollah (Party of God) fighters that harass Israel are based.
In Iraq, any site suspected of being a chemical weapons facility or proliferation plant of any threatening kind would be bombed, in an escalation of the almost weekly current harassment of Iraqi installations by British and US fighter jets.
In Syria and Lebanon, as in Afghanistan, special ops would guide air strikes, and also be called on to mount guerrilla-style raids on training camps and to carry out assassinations. While a presidential executive order - which Bush is under pressure to revoke - bans overseas assassinations, the Pentagon points out that the US can act as it pleases in self-defence. If action in Lebanon led to an Israeli reinvasion of the southern part of the country, it would be supported by the US.
thanks to The Liberal Arts Mafia
This is an instructive article which looks at a very similar situation the French had in Algeria in the 1950s. Similar except that it was on a much smaller scale. The French fell into the trap that the Bush Hawks (see above) want to fall into on a global scale.
One of the objectives of terrorism is to provoke the ruling elites of a target regime into disastrous overreaction. When it works, as it has in Israel over the past year, the results can be devastating for all sides. Who does this ultimately benefit? The terrorists.
thanks to SmirkingChimp.com
This one comes under the heading of deja vu. I feel it is important to understand what this country has been doing to the rest of the world in order to understand why so many hate the U.S. This is not to justify the horrific act of 9-11 but to understand the root causes of 9-11. In order to solve this we need to attack the root causes and not just the symptoms. These pictures are of the World Trade Center and of another tall office building filled with civilians. The other tall building was in Yugoslavia and was attacked by the U.S.
thanks to follow me here...
The real storm hasn't hit yet but the big wheels are turning and the shit is starting to hit the fan.
The United States and Britain plan to attack bases controlled by Osama Bin Laden, prime suspect of the terrorist assaults on New York and Washington, within 48 hours, newspapers reported here Sunday.
As thousands of Afghans yesterday attempted to flee across the borders into Tajikistan, Pakistan and Iran, the first accounts of how the Taliban are involved in ethnic attacks against their own people began to emerge. The violence being dealt out within the country's closed borders, and the resulting refugee crisis, were yesterday plunging into chaos a huge swath of Central Asia that could have devastating consequences for the rest of the world. ">
And...Just what is a terrorist?
When is a terrorist not a terrorist? It depends...
The results of these double standards have been to render the word virtually meaningless, one that is useful only for propaganda purposes. Or, as that battle-hardened journalist Robert Fisk put it in his book Pity the Nation more than decade ago: 'Terrorism no longer means terrorism. It is not a definition, it is a political contrivance. "Terrorists" are those who use violence against the side that is using the word.'
"Though written several years ago, the following article is an excellent introduction for anyone looking to understand the United States' role in the Middle East since the end of the Cold War:"
The doctrine of dual containment was first introduced in 1993, two years after the allied victory in the Gulf War. Conventional balance-of-power theory had held that the region's natural leaders, Iraq and Iran, should be pitted against one another to prevent either from becoming dominant and jeopardizing the flow of oil to the West. By choosing to isolate both nations, however, the Bush administration committed itself to an ambitious program requiring an expanded U.S. military and political presence in the Gulf. Dual containment had two immediate consequences, both of which contradicted the president's putative vision for a New World Order: U.S. military force had to be deployed in the Gulf for an extended period to maintain constant pressure against Iran and Iraq; and Saudi Arabia-heretofore a second-tier proxy behind Washington's ally of the moment-had to be transformed, along with its Gulf neighbors, into a credible military counterweight in its own right. Thus, military force remained as necessary under the new dispensation as it was before.
thanks to wood s lot
A most eloquent commentary from Arundhati Roy.
[Arundhati Roy is a novelist from India. Her book, The God of Small Things is an absolutley amazing book. A must read.]
Here's the rub: America is at war against people it doesn't know, because they don't appear much on TV. Before it has properly identified or even begun to comprehend the nature of its enemy, the US government has, in a rush of publicity and embarrassing rhetoric, cobbled together an "international coalition against terror", mobilised its army, its air force, its navy and its media, and committed them to battle.
The trouble is that once America goes off to war, it can't very well return without having fought one. If it doesn't find its enemy, for the sake of the enraged folks back home, it will have to manufacture one. Once war begins, it will develop a momentum, a logic and a justification of its own, and we'll lose sight of why it's being fought in the first place.
What we're witnessing here is the spectacle of the world's most powerful country reaching reflexively, angrily, for an old instinct to fight a new kind of war. Suddenly, when it comes to defending itself, America's streamlined warships, cruise missiles and F-16 jets look like obsolete, lumbering things. As deterrence, its arsenal of nuclear bombs is no longer worth its weight in scrap. Box-cutters, penknives, and cold anger are the weapons with which the wars of the new century will be waged. Anger is the lock pick. It slips through customs unnoticed. Doesn't show up in baggage checks.
For strategic, military and economic reasons, it is vital for the US government to persuade its public that their commitment to freedom and democracy and the American Way of Life is under attack. In the current atmosphere of grief, outrage and anger, it's an easy notion to peddle. However, if that were true, it's reasonable to wonder why the symbols of America's economic and military dominance - the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon - were chosen as the targets of the attacks. Why not the Statue of Liberty? Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US government's record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things - to military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)? It must be hard for ordinary Americans, so recently bereaved, to look up at the world with their eyes full of tears and encounter what might appear to them to be indifference. It isn't indifference. It's just augury. An absence of surprise. The tired wisdom of knowing that what goes around eventually comes around. American people ought to know that it is not them but their government's policies that are so hated. They can't possibly doubt that they themselves, their extraordinary musicians, their writers, their actors, their spectacular sportsmen and their cinema, are universally welcomed. All of us have been moved by the courage and grace shown by firefighters, rescue workers and ordinary office staff in the days since the attacks.
thanks to also not found in nature