Thursday, June 5, 2008

40 Years On

Bobby Kennedy was assassinated 40 years ago today
it puts me in a mood...nostalgia, sadness, aching for hope, for an Amerika to become America once more.


Can we overcome slow decay, ignoble rot

JFK 11/22/63 fifth grade for me, out of school early, quite a shock but then so was the missile crisis a little earlier, even at that tender age realizing the absurdity of hiding under our desks. (and a year later my parents, big Peter Sellers fans, unknowingly take me to Chicago to see Dr. Strangelove....Chill Wills riding the bomb!)

MLK 4/4/68 already resisting the war, memories of the Illinois Bureau of Investigation hassleing me in the high school cafeteria for wearing a Peace Sign armband, they were wondering what "commies" were creating the underground newspaper that flew through the school regularly - ripe with the smell of the mimeo machine that announced its presence.

"What is that, the tracks of the American Chicken?"
"Who are you, The Mod Squad?"

9/4/70 Bye, Bye, Baby Bye Bye. Freshman year in college, Janis is gone.

9/18/70 The Star Spangled Banner blaring from the dorm window mourns Jimi's passing.

7/3/71 The Trifecta, no more Lizard King.

Time passses 12/8/80 John Lennon, perhaps this is the ultimate absurdity/obscenity?

Can this violent nation, born to the gun, always believing in a doctrine of exceptionality, just stop grabbing?

Can we think for tomorrow?

Can we sacrifice for our future?

Yes we can?

More On McBush (pun intended)

This is an important read; Cockburn and the Independent, while oft vilified by the Right, have a pretty strong record on Iraq going back to pre-invasion days.

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control

Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors
By Patrick Cockburn
Thursday, 5 June 2008

I will include a few excerpts at the end of this post but do go and read the whole thing!

It is starting to look like one thing this blog will do is keep a running history on a Bush/Neocon/McCain confluence (I won't yet call it a conspiracy) that may well lead the US to attack or invade Iran as well as execute preposterous goings-on with Iraq. A few words about the confluence; the NeoCon dream of remaking the Middle East still burns brightly, at least in Dick Cheney's mind, Bush is growing desperate for something he can call victory in Iraq before he leaves office and will do all he can to make it harder for the next President to abandon our Imperialist Adventure, and McCain's only real hope of election is riding the wave of fresh aggression in Iraq and thus public support for continued misadventures in Iran. This latter point will create tremendous pressure from the Neo-Con wing of what is still called the Republican Party for that aggression to ocur.

So why do I feel this must be recorded? Well before the Iraq invasion I argued long and hard with many otherwise intelligent folk that the entire justification was bogus. The problem, as near as I could tell, was that nobody was paying much attention to the netherworld of blogs and foreign press. While I am tempted to think that could not happen today, nearly 7 years later, I actually think it could easily happen again. To some degree that is a reflection of my distrust of many Democrats in Congress. After all there have been no impeachments for radically impeachable offenses (and even now many Democrats are moving to forever codify unconstitutional spying by the Executive branch upon US citizens, another important read) It also reflects my somewhat skeptical feelings towards Obama regarding his still untested backbone. And finally, there has been no significant improvement in the MSM; they continue to be lazy and worthless for the most part.

A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

America currently has 151,000 troops in Iraq and, even after projected withdrawals next month, troop levels will stand at more than 142,000 – 10 000 more than when the military "surge" began in January 2007. Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government.

Mr Bush is determined to force the Iraqi government to sign the so-called "strategic alliance" without modifications, by the end of next month. But it is already being condemned by the Iranians and many Arabs as a continuing American attempt to dominate the region. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the powerful and usually moderate Iranian leader, said yesterday that such a deal would create "a permanent occupation". He added: "The essence of this agreement is to turn the Iraqis into slaves of the Americans."

For now, all I can do is Hope We Don't Get fooled Again!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bombs Away

Well I really didn't see this Asia Times piece on attacking Iran before writing my previous post. The whole article is worth a read. (The senators mentioned are supposedly Feinstein and Lugar.)

"The George W Bush administration plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months, an informed source tells Asia Times Online, echoing other reports that have surfaced in the media in the United States recently.

Two key US senators briefed on the attack planned to go public with their opposition to the move, according to the source, but their projected New York Times op-ed piece has yet to appear.

The source, a retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community, speaking anonymously, said last week that the US plans an air strike against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The air strike would target the headquarters of the IRGC's elite Quds force. With an estimated strength of up to 90,000 fighters, the Quds' stated mission is to spread Iran's revolution of 1979 throughout the region."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Daddy Warbucks (Arming Iraq and Attacking Iran)

A week of so ago USA Today mentioned that, "Iraq began committing money to U.S. foreign military sales in December 2006 and by last May had $3 billion in an account dedicated to the program.

About $1.6 billion worth of contracts have already been delivered and another $1 billion is under contract, Benkert said. The remaining money hasn't been spent yet.

The United States also continues to support Iraq's security forces with U.S. tax dollars. The Pentagon budgeted $3 billion this fiscal year to equip and train Iraq's security forces."

Math wasn't my major but that seems like 6 billion of arms we will supply to that oh so stable government of Iraq. Gosh any chance of blow back on this one? (How many IED's were made from parts brokered by Rummy for the Reagan administration as a gift to Saddam? How many millions did Ronnie provide to the future Taliban in Afghanistan in the 80's?)

Invade a country for no good reason causing the death of a few hundred thousand people, then tell them they have to create their own democracy while privatizing the war and the "peace" for the profit of your good buddies, look to Iran; rinse and repeat.

And here's even more depressing news; more good citizens believe we should talk with Iran than believe in Evolution.

Why is that depressing? Answer after you contemplate the graphic below from a recent Gallup Poll.



With McBush beating the drums for attacking Iran this poll can only be taken as extremley bad news for Republicans (lord knows McBush's economic policies, and I use that term loosely, will be enough of a disaster for him.)

What can change the picture?

A serious strike on Iran before the Presidential elections, thats what. Its the Hail Mary for Mc Bush and GWB is just the lad to authorize it. (That's seriously bad news for ALL OF US!)

A snip from GWB commanding the troops, from Michael Abramowitz at the Post via Talking Points Memo:

During a videoconference with his national security team and generals, Sanchez writes, Bush launched into what he described as a "confused" pep talk:

"Kick ass!" he quotes the president as saying. "If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can't send that message. It's an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal."

"There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!"

Damn I miss Ike

Hell I even miss Goldwater! Even his granddaughter still has some common sense.

“‘I don’t know if [Barry Goldwater] would recognize the Republican Party today,’ Alison Goldwater Ross, a registered Democrat and granddaughter of the 1964 GOP presidential candidate, told The Huffington Post. ‘I’m sure if we were to raise his ashes from the Colorado River… he would be going, ‘What? This is not my vision. This is not my party.’”

(Please forgive the partial duplicate post below. Lycos has fallen and it can't get up. Their new webon interface is pretty spiffy for us HTML laymen put it seems to be missing a way to delete a broken post.)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Kurzweil Continued

P-man,over at Emergent Ink, is a good friend and I have enjoyed arguing with him for many years now; he's a strong thinker. He is also what I would call a Peak Oil Pessimist (although I am sure he would consider himself a realist, not a pessimist.) He has read and linked to my previous post on Kurzweil and solar energy, and I thank him for that. And he has posted a rejoinder to Kurzweil and solar that is well worth a read.

However I have a few bones to pick;

#1         P-man seems a bit too skeptical of Ray's prophecies.

That is to say my rating of the estimated prophet is a bit higher than P's.

 #2        (and somewhat more salient)  P-man is convinced that, even if the  growth rate Kurzweil predicts in solar pannel technology is believable, there won't be enough energy around to build those panels. (I think we can agree that we will be able to build those panels without using much if any petrolium products in the basic materials except of course  the energy to produce those materials.)

The problem with P's energy argument is this. What if, instead of being able to provide all our energy with solar, we can only provide 1%. And what if we dedicate 5% of that new energy to making more solar panels? Even if we only compound it monthly it will take a bit les than 32 months to reach the 100% solar -supplied goal. Lets say half of that new energy is used in scaling up manufacturing, we are still looking at a 5 year project. If Kurzweil is anywhere near correct in his projections we just need to start 5 or 10 years before oil runs out; still quite possible in my opinion!