Sunday, February 29, 2004

No Noise Is Good Noise

Here it is Sunday and the news is pretty flat. The government of Haiti has fallen to rebel pressure for which the Democrats blame the Bush regime. Nothing new and nothing new in that. Jean-Baptiste Aristede is a right bastard in anyone’s book. Surprising he’s lasted this long. For the Democrats to blame Bush is like trying to blame someone for this winter’s New England cold snap. But now that I think about it, might as well blame him for both.

We send the Marines to Haiti so often, that I don’t know why we don’t open recruiting offices there and just send uniforms every time the government needs changing. Save a nickel or two that way. Of course it does serve as a training assignment for each generation of Marines. Something of a live fire exercise with real targets. Much safer than Iraq; the Haitians have yet to discover suicide bombing as a political statement.

Tuesday is Primary Election day here in California as well as a number of other populous states. Enough convention delegates are on the table to settle the issue of who the Dems will pick to challenge Dubya come November. I think that issue will have a single outcome.

I also get to help pick candidates for federal and state legislatures, some party committee members, judges, as well as opt for 4 state propositions to do mostly with the ex-Terminator’s plan to bail California out of its economic mess. There is also a proposed tax on housing to support the local libraries and a regional issue dealing with public transportation systems that really have nothing to do with me as much as people who live in Alameda, San Francisco, and Contra Costa counties.

Exciting? Not in the least. The only emotion I’ve had from the local issues is irritation at solicitation phone calls that disturb my nap.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Bush Tightens Rules on Travel to Cuba

Amendment has gay GOP activists set for new fight
Chicago Tribune

From these two headlines one could reasonably come to the conclusion that The Pres is making an effort to court Cuban-Americans, and that his attempt to bolster his position with the far right by proposing a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage the Republican way has backfired.

On two counts, actually.

The two gay Republican blocs who delivered a million votes for Bush in 2000 are now looking around for another candidate to back. Gays and Lesbians are stirred-up, where they were generally complacent in 2000, and can be counted upon to bring a lot of energy and money to the fall election campaign.

New Pfalz, New York’s mayor is now performing marriage ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples ala San Francisco. Will every non-Republican mayor in the country try to get in the news by following suit? Okay, here’s a poser for you: Who, in your opinion, will be the first Republican Mayor to send a raspberry to Washington?

The Cubaños are not as volatile, lacking the galvanizing issue of the then six year old Elian Gonzales’ return to his father’s care in Cuba after being rescued from a shipwreck which took his mother’s life. The opinion has been voiced that the Administration has ignored them up to this point and is scrambling for their votes.

Dubya? Nahhh. Couldn’t be.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

U.S. Military Lawyers Criticize Guantanamo Trials
Reuters Headline

Here’s a quote: "The checks and balances that we expect from a system today to make sure that the process is fair and that it is not subjected to improper influences by any of the participants don't exist in the military commission system," said LCdr. Philip Sundel, USN.

The article goes on to say Sundel and Army Maj. Mark Bridges were assigned by the Pentagon on Feb. 6 to represent Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al Bahlul of Yemen.

Glad you got the picture, counselor. Let us examine the due process afforded the 3,000 or so victims of September 11, 2001. No checks or balances for them. Some men, not of their country and not of their culture decided in secret that their lives were forfeit and that was that. No appeal. No clemency. Just fiery death. How much of a fair trial do you think is warranted? Does the American public get to feed these animals and keep them in a nice comfy death row cell watching cable TV for the next 15 years?

The article further cites military defense lawyers complaints that the Military Tribunal System is antiquated. Typical lawyer trick. If your client is guilty, defend him by attacking the Justice System.

The concept of justice found in the Old Testament is also antiquated, counselors. Maybe you should be happy with what you got, rather than snivel about it. These men are members of an organization who have attacked peaceful American citizens. Every member of that organization deserves a quick hanging and burial in an unmarked grave.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Congress Not Rushing Gay Marriage Ban
AP Headline

Well, duhhh. All of the house is up for re-election and you can bet your bippy they’re not going to be in any sort of rush to alienate a bloc of voters and their sympathizers. With the exception of Republicans from absolutely safe districts, no one who wants to stay in the house will touch this one.

Bush abortion smear as mud flies
The (Tasmanian) Mercury headline

Our cousins down under seem to revel in sleazy politics. Ours at least. This came up in the 2000 election and didn’t play then. Paraplegic smut peddler Larry Flynt is set to publish an expose in hard back. He is quoted as saying "I got the story nailed, I've talked to the woman's friends, I've tracked down the doctor who did the abortion, I tracked down the Bush people who arranged for the abortion."

This is on the heels of a Kerry hating Bush supporter who gloated in response to the accusation that he phonied up the photograph of decorated veteran and peace activist John Kerry standing next to Jane Fonda while she addressed a peace rally near the Republican Convention in Miami in 1972.

Looks like we’re going to get mud wrestling out of girlie bars on to the front pages.

Oh Joy! What fun.

Two dead as US helicopter crashes; coalition may delay security accord
AFP Headline

Iraq Helicopter Crash Kills Two Soldiers
AP Headline

There are two versions of this one. AFP has it that the OH-58 Kiowa was manned by an unspecified number of “Coalition” personnel and the AP says two Americans are dead. It crashed into the Euphrates near Haditha, some 120 miles west of Baghdad.

The AFP version has it that the two place scout reconnaissance aircraft crashed from unknown causes and the AP states that an eye-witness saw a missile strike it.

These versions are attributed to different briefing officers.

Come on, guys. You can order the military to mealy-mouth and soft soap but it won’t work any better now than it did in ‘Nam. Two American families will bear the grief of never seeing their loved ones again and another American unit will fly the colors at half staff while the procurement office will shop around for another aircraft and the recruiters will look for more meat for the grinder.

If you don’t have the message in Washington yet, the real threat to the American way of life is still alive and in business. Quit screwing around and go after him.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

FBI, CIA Heads Outline World Terror Threat AP

Oh-0h. Osama is it again. There is also a report that some Al Qaeda muckety-muck sent in a tape to Al Jazeera which consisted of raspberries and nanner-nanner-nanners.

Al Qaeda looks like something we ought not to tolerate, but instead of hunting them down, Bush invaded Iraq to take out Saddam.

Mr. Bush, neither Saddam nor the Baath Party flew those jet liners into the towers and the Pentagon. Please quit screwing around in Iraq and get back on the trail of the real culprits.

Leaked US report warns climate change may bring famine, war (Revisited)
ABC News Online citing AFP

A number of papers around the US have now picked up this story. It seems it was leaked to the Observer (Britain) where AFP picked it up and from there spread from eastern to western hemispheres.

Bin Laden Top for U.S. Pay-Per-View Execution?

It seems that a cable network, TRIO, commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a poll and the results were macabre. A third of the respondents said they would pay money to view the execution of Osama bin Laden in the event he is convicted and condemned in a US court.

Don’t plan on loading the fridge up with beer and stocking up on noshes. It ain’t gonna happen soon. First we have to take him alive and get him in front of a US judge. (That might take a while, particularly with this crew we have running things.) Then there is all the pre-trial mumbo-jumbo called “due process” which is a feeding call for lawyers.

Then it is on to the trial of the century. Court TV is going to get rich. If it took 9 months to acquit O.J. think how long it will take to convict and condemn Osama. Did I mention Court TV is going to rich? Really, really rich.

Next we have the appeals process. 15 years minimum. The only reason they snuffed Tim McVeigh after 5 short years was the fact he went to the judge and told him it was his desire that no further appeals be made in his behalf. He could still be watching TV and eating three meals a day had he insisted on the full benefits of “due process”.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Schwarzenegger Lays Out Election Views
AP Headline

Arnie appeared on his first talk show interview yesterday. He thinks Bush can carry California if he spends enough Federal dollars here, that Orrin Hatch is on the right trail proposing a Constitutional Amendment to allow foreign-born to serve as President, and prattling about his directing the Democratic State Attorney General to put a stop to San Francisco’s issuing of marriage licenses to gay and lesbians couples.

Things haven’t been going well in the Golden State, so to get our mind off our problems we had this big send-up election where we fired our very bland governor. A body builder turned movie star marginally bested a lesbian porno star for the position. It was a huge laugh at the time, but now it looks like the joke is on us.

I’m not sure how the Gov missed the fact that Bush didn’t carry a single California county in the last election. Maybe he was patting the buns of some cute make-up artist or something. Now that Bush’s disastrous economic policy, trumped-up war, and diplomatic alienation of our historic allies have become known, there’s not a snowball’s chance this time around.

Now, about amending the Constitution: The last thing we need to do is give a buffoon who admires Adolph Hitler access to nuclear weapons.

And last but not least. The Governor of California does not have the authority to tell the Attorney General how to do his job. A fact the AG’s office was quick to point out.

We’re glad your on the job, Governor, keep those laugh lines coming.

Leaked US report warns climate change may bring famine, war
ABC News Online citing AFP

Here’s a fun one. Online news sites around the world have carried this AFP story of gloom and doom. Supposedly a top secret Pentagon report on an expected world-wide climate change so severe that the UK will have Siberia-like weather within 20 years has been leaked. War and Famine. Millions dead and the like. Dire predictions, indeed.

The story goes on to say the White House has ignored the report for the past several months. No big deal there, if a report has nothing to do with big oil or getting re-elected or putting a positive spin on the war on terrorism, the paper it’s printed on might as well be blank.

Supposedly someone needed the world to know, hence the leak.

One would think this is a hot story, right? A climate change so drastic as to see what are now year round seaports closed by ice for many months of the year. Bad news big time, it is. Catastrophic Calamity, if I may be redundant.

This article appears on Yahoo News and ABC Online in the US and that’s it. No online US newspaper carries this story, but it can be found in New Zealand, Australian, Filipino, Pakistani, and British papers all citing Agence Presse-France.

It wouldn’t be the first time articles of great interest appeared everywhere else but in the US, but, true or not, nothing of this magnitude has ever gone unreported.

Is American news being managed? Off course not, First Amendment freedom of the press and all that. Wouldn’t dare. Is this a phony story from the Democrats to get back for the bogus Kerry-Hanoi Jane photo? Hmmm. Possible.

You guys think it over. I’m out of here to buy some long johns.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Rumsfeld: Al Qaeda Involved in Iraq Attacks Reuters headline

Dubya mustered up a bunch of sycophants and invaded Iraq on the basis of a perceived WMD arsenal, an alliance with Al Qaeda, and the threat that Saddam would indeed arm Osama’s suicide squads with same. We now know that the whole premise is a crock, but now that we have destroyed the entire Iraqi Public Safety and Military apparat, the threat of Al Qaeda seems to be coming true. No border guards; all they, or anyone for that matter, have to do is enter the country and head for the weapons caches left behind by retreating Iraqis when Coalition forces stormed through. Doonesbury captured the essence of this a couple of months back, having the Al Qaeda caricature name Iraq Rumsyland. Nice to know the news has made its way to Washington.

Rumsfeld states that "We have seen information that terrorists are trying to foment strife between the religious and ethnic groups" in Iraq. The fact of the matter, it took the iron hand of Saddam Hussein and the draconian rule of the Baath party to keep a lid on open internecine warfare.

The article goes on to say that we will establish democracy there. Sure we will – right after the last snowball fight in hell. Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds hate each other with killing passion, or hasn't anyone noticed? The only way to rule a unified Iraq is the same way Saddam did.

The reason we didn't knock Saddam out in the first Gulf War was the fact he was a counter-balance to the perceived territorial ambitions of Iran. So now that we have destroyed the entire governmental infrastructure and need to replace it, we have two choices.

Pull out leaving a “democracy” behind. Here’s what I foresee:

The Kurds will opt for independence and Turkey will snap them up in a heart beat. Two good reasons for that move on Turkey’s part. To forestall a Kurdish republic that would fan the flames for Kurdish independence in Turkish Kurdistan and the oil reserves at Kirkük. This of course will fracture NATO down to its foundation. It’s been impossible to keep the Greeks and Turks from having at each other, so a tempting morsel left on the plate will be too good for Ankara to pass up.

The Shiites who have had enough Sunni rule, thank you, will attempt to go their own way. Iran will pick up them up along with their huge oil reserves. That would put Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE in immediate jeopardy annexation. Even without the threat of invading their neighbors, Iran would be able to throw enough weight around in oil deliveries to blackmail its way into the nuclear club. Who in their right mind would countenance that occurring?

The Sunnis with no other choice will find alliance and annexation with Syria.

The whole point of our Middle Eastern Policy is to prevent any one nation gaining a decided strength advantage over its neighbors and certainly not the wherewithal to be a viable threat to Israel’s existence. (How the US got saddled with that responsibility would tax the logic of Lewis Carroll.)

So, the consequences of leaving the country under some sort of tri-lateral rule has the distinct probabilities of strengthening two states inimical to Israel and weakening NATO.

Democracy, Don? Sure, dude.

The other alternative which would be unpalatable to the respective bodies politic of Coalition countries and that is to return Iraq to status quo ante bellum. In other words empower an absolute dictator in Baghdad.

All the while it takes to come to a decision the US can count on pouring out a hundred billion borrowed dollars a year and losing hundreds of its service men and women to boot. For what? Bush said he was doing this for the security of America, and I for one not only don’t feel safer, I view the uncertain future with pessimism.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Poll: Wartime record won’t sway voters.

Yesterday’s AP headline would indicate that Kerry’s nomination is a done deal, and it will be him challenging Bush in November. Maybe, maybe not.

The poll cited was one of those with a Republican twist. They’re accusing Kerry of being a peacenik and hanging out with Jane Fonda at a peace rally. That he did, but only after winning the Silver Star Medal and the Bronze Star Medal with the V device indicating the award was for valor. More to the point the action for which he was cited when awarded the Bronze Star was putting himself at risk to save other men’s lives. The poll failed to mention that part of Kerry’s history.

Bush on the other had a daddy who was a congressman. Very easy to get into the Texas Air National Guard and out of the war if your daddy is a congressman. A big bunch of other Texans who didn't have a congressman daddy came home in Containers, Human Remains. The poll didn’t mention that part either.

Kerry smelled the smoke, as they say, and if he wanted to hang out with Hanoi Jane afterward, that’s cool.

Bush defends decision to go to war in Iraq. That’s the headline, so help me. He cites the basis for that decision being Saddam’s link with Al Qaeda and that bad boy’s past use of WMD.

That’s cool, but Coalition Forces have control of all the territory of Iraq and have had for 9 months. Guess what we ain’t found none of? There hasn’t been one milligram of chemical or biological weapon material found. There have been no laboratories found. More to the point there have been no weapons assembly factories found. There are no centrifuges churning out U235, and if there is a stash of weapons grade fissile material, that too, has escaped notice.

On the face of it, Saddam and Osama just don’t seem like two guys who have the slightest interests in common. It is hard to imagine them being friends of any sort. Osama is a religious nut, Saddam a murdering thief. Again there has been little to indicate a union between the two.

Mr. Bush, your claims don’t bear up under scrutiny. Fortunately, your idiotic mistake didn’t cause the death of another American Friday, but you are still pouring out our treasure at the rate of 100 billion dollars a year. Money that we don’t actually have, but must borrow. We fought Vietnam on credit and are still paying for that folly.

Friday, February 20, 2004

There is an article in this morning’s LA Times on-line edition detailing the deaths of three more American soldiers by roadside bomb ambush. A reader could possibly sense that the real news wasn’t their deaths, but more about the impromptu celebration the locals put on after the clean-up squad left the scene.

Somehow this event doesn’t seem to square with Washington spin-doctors happy gushing about the gratitude of the Iraqi people.

Maybe we should recall the history of the Americal Division in ‘Nam. Ill trained and poorly led soldiers repeatedly suffered humiliating casualties at the hands of unseen enemies. Discipline went by the boards giving rise to atrocity after atrocity. The My Lai massacre was the only one to come to our attention here at home, but “Pinkville” massacre stories circulated among service members long before the name of Lieutenant Calley became a household word.

The all-business 101st Airmobile Division, who suffered the casualties, is due to go home shortly to be replaced with reservists. It's looking more like 'Nam every day.

An old adage comes to mind: “Those who don’t learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.” In this case that is pretty scary; Dubya can’t remember his lines, let alone the particulars of a war his daddy, the congressman, got him out of.

Can you say Wounded Knee and My Lai? Maybe we can add Fallujah to them. What do you think?

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I just read that Dubya is touting his economic record. When do you think he will haul out his Nobel Peace Prize? It was a good day today in Iraq. There were no American deaths reported. Maybe the truck bombers ran out of trucks.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

I read that the suicide bombers are at again in Iraq. On one hand the problem will solve itself as Moslems tend toward virgin marriage so these wackos are out of the gene pool. On the other hand, it might take a while. Reminds me of the story of Cheney and Rumsfeld having a cocktail before the war. The guy next to them asks what they're talking about. "We're planning the start of WWIII." The other guy asks, "How are you going to do that?" Cheney smiles and says, "We're going to kill five million Iraqis and a bicycle mechanic." the guys eyes get big. "Bicycle mechanic? Why in the [bleep] are you going to kill a bicycle mechanic?" Cheney starts laughing and elbows Rumsfeld in the ribs. "See! See! I told you no one gives a [bleep] about five million Iraqis."

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Three more dead American Service Members in Iraq today. Don't you think it's time for the Administration to dust off the history books to see if we've faced anything like this in the past and how we dealt with it? Ah, yes. The Nazis. Fanatics, they were. And all the same color as the innocents. What to do? What to do? Easy. Round 'em all up and intern them for a couple of years. Every military aged (16-45) male in the country was slammed into a barbed wire pen. It worked. We never lost 50 people in a month in the last half of '45 to German recalcitrance.

Monday, February 16, 2004

My very first BLOG. The Taiwanese stole the march today in the bio-technology arena by cloning human embryos for stem cell research. They didn't do this because they were sharper, they were able to be the first ones to achieve this worthy goal because Americans are prohibited from doing so by the Bush administration. I live in Silicon Valley. This place has been devastated by the lack of venture capital. VC is going to Mumbai and Taipei, but not here. I wonder if the Neanderthals on Bush's reelection committee are aware that they don't stand much of a chance of carrying California based on his record.

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