Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crystal Lee Sutton and Norman Borlaug

Crystal n Norm

Crystal Lee Sutton died on September 11th of cancer at 68. Norman Borlaug died the next day, also of cancer, aged 95. I'll admit I'd never heard of either. Crystal Lee Sutton, the real life inspiration for Martin Ritt's Carter-era film Norma Rae-- I just assumed she was fictional, but she was real, and apparently the most famous scene from the film really happened:

She received threats and was finally fired from her job. But before she left, she took one final stand, filmed verbatim in the 1979 film Norma Rae. “I took a piece of cardboard and wrote the word UNION on it in big letters, got up on my work table, and slowly turned it around. The workers started cutting their machines off and giving me the victory sign. All of a sudden the plant was very quiet…” Sutton was physically removed from the plant by police, but the result of her actions was staggering. The Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union won the right to represent the workers at the plant on August 28, 1974.

-from her website,

I don't know if you can film something verbatim per se, but that's a trifling objection. According to the Institute for Southern Studies

Several years ago, Sutton was diagnosed with meningioma, a type of cancer of the nervous system. While such cancers are typically slow-growing, Sutton's was not -- and she went two months without potentially life-saving medication because her insurance wouldn't cover it initially. Sutton told the Burlington (N.C.) Times-News last year that the insurer's behavior was an example of abuse of the working poor:

"How in the world can it take so long to find out [whether they would cover the medicine or not] when it could be a matter of life or death," she said. "It is almost like, in a way, committing murder."

Though Sutton eventually received the medication, the cancer had already taken hold. She passed away on Friday, Sept. 11 in a Burlington, N.C. hospice.

Norman Borlaug was also an incredible person, albeit of a very different cast. After receiving his PhD at the age of 28 he went to work for the US military in WWII, first developing a saltwater-resistant adhesive that allowed US forces to jettison watertight boxes of canned food to troops stranded on Guadalcanal island. In the years after the war he was instrumental in developing disease-resistant high yield crops that helped India be able to produce enough food to feed all her people.

He won the Nobel Peace prize in 1970, and consequently his passing made a lot more news than Sutton's. I don't mean that as sarcasm-- he certainly helped a lot more people. But also it occurs to me that although they were both humanitarians, his story, broadly speaking, has a certain uncomplicated quality, at least from the point of view of corporate news outlets. American scientist helps feed world, is justifiably celebrated, dies after a long rewarding life. Sutton's story is less rewarding for the corporate media to tell, because it is less sunny, underscoring the hostile legal climate that unions inhabit in the US, as well as our vanishing industrial base.(She worked in a clothes factory in North Carolina, and today most domestic clothes production has been exported out from under us.) Even the end, with her conflict regarding her insurance, is a story the corporate media isn't so eager to relate to us. Katie Couric didn't mention that last bit on the CBS news, but at least she mentioned her.

You can find less sunny aspects to Bourlag's story if you are really determined; he was an early proponent of DDT*, for example,but so were a lot of people. Nevertheless he was always trying to help people, and there's no question on balance he did, tremendously. Yes, Borlaug was a booster of genetically-modified foods. But at least until we can figure out how to feed everybody, stop raping the planet, and substantially shrink the world population(through as-yet undiscovered, ethically and socially doable means), I'd say his way is the right way for much of the third world, handily trumping lefty-doctrinaire objections.

I'm not keen on some of the particulars of corporate farming, like counterproductive US subsidies of ethanol or patenting seeds and telling third-world farmers they're intellectual property, but screwy consequences like that were not Bourlag's doing.

I don't have a penetrating, overarching point in discussing Sutton and Bourlag-- my blogging is often simply a record of efforts at my self-education, and I wanted to take note of their passing.

"*Food Security and Agriculture" by Devinder Sharma

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I stumbled across a site called "The Heritage Foundation" and found a helpful little treatise on "A Defense Budget Strategy for Winning the Long War."
This was written by somebody with the remarkable name of Baker Spring and includes all kinds of helpful advice on funding overseas slaughter for a long time to come. Naturally, it starts with the kind of rhetoric so necessary to, and smoothly accepted in, Mr. Spring's dark world:
"With the stakes no less than the survival of the free world, U.S. leadership is essential to winning the 'Long War' now raging against the forces of Islamic fascism. Given the open-ended nature of this conflict, U.S. lead­ership requires a long-term commitment to making the necessary resources available to the military."
Well, sure, that's understood. The conflict against "the forces of Islamic fascism" (as opposed, I guess, to armies of pure-minded Baptists) must be carried on to ensure the triumph of "the free world." And how will we provide the wherewithal to fund this glorious victory? Mr. Spring counts the ways, including
GOAL # 2: Limit the future growth in spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid
Great idea! It's a national disgrace how those pesky old people and indigents are gobbling up funds just to eat every day and pay for medical care. We need that money to fund our carnage objectives, so let's cut down on these frivolous expenditures. (No COLA increase in SS this year? That's just a coincidence.)
GOAL #4: Set a goal of allocating at least $200 billion annually to the military modern­ization budget by the middle of the next decade.
It's interesting to note that this little essay is dated March 2, 2006. Three and a half years ago, this guy--and, I assume, his cockamamie colleagues--were hawking (I love puns!) a bigger and better military. And, sure as God made little green republicans, if an army grows in size and menace, that extra oomph will be put to use.
So, fellas and girls, don't look for an end to the long war anytime soon. Mr. Spring and his ilk will protect us from having to wrestle with the problems of perpetual peace for decades to come. And protect our children, and our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren, and our...


Some Meandering Thoughts

Reading through comments at various blogs I find some comments remind me of how people drive their cars. For some reason ensconced inside those metal and plastic guided missiles we call cars people feel freer to be rude or perhaps to just let their inner self emerge from the niceties of normal human intercourse. The impersonal aspect of communicating via the internet seems to act like the car shells of drivers and people feel more free to take liberties with other people than they would normally in a social setting where all are together in the body. This all gets stale after a while. Politics is always contentious and people can take it very seriously even when they don’t have a clue as to what they are talking about and or only repeat what others have already said like so many parrots.

It’s almost funny in a way, like when you run across what I call the dictator type commenter. I’m thinking of one in particular that I came across recently at a favorite site and if you so much as hinted at a suggestion that one tiny part of a long winded comment might possibly perhaps, maybe a one in a million chance, that there could be a whiff of disagreement, this person would explode into a tirade demanding proof of this that and the other that he might have been wrong on one eensie bitsy fragment of his comment. It was all in his, shall we say, hyperactive and fevered imagination. I wonder how many bloggers see themselves as striding across the universe spreading truth like some cosmic Johnny Appleseed spreading seeds among the stars of the heavens. The only thing missing is a big red “S” on their chest and a cape to match.

Politics are an ugly subject regarding ugly people, in my opinion the worst society can produce. For the most part politicians act on their own behalf which is a really boring thing in my opinion. While people who don’t really pay attention may have some accordingly ridiculous ideas about the reality of politics and power they are perhaps a bit saner for their ignorance. On the other hand I think people really should pay better attention and this is where I believe the positive side of the internet comes into play. Good information is found on the net amidst tons of useless crap and tasteless garbage you just have to know where to look. I wonder in this militarized police state we inhabit why big brother hasn’t taken control of the internet to render any independent voices silent. Most likely they just don’t see it as a threat yet as the most popular blogs are either rubber room right wing dingbats or delusional liberals who are so happy to have their man in the White House that you could sell them the Brooklyn Bridge five times in a row without raising suspicion. Even paying more attention than most is no guarantee that we can get things “right” as it were. However if the ruling elite ever see the internet as a direct threat to their rule you can bet the internet’s days would be numbered at least in the form we are now familiar with.

One conclusion I draw from this is that this lack of concern on the part of the elite is proof that the internet has not really been effective in countering the mainstream news media. The simplest reason being most people get their news from their local TV news stations, the absolute worst choice for a reliable news source. Indeed, we find ourselves plunging headlong into ever more military adventures overseas even as the economy continues to crumble even as our leaders concentrate on war and by that I mean I include Congress who is as guilty as or guiltier than Obama and frankly I favor the latter more than the former. I find their recent appearance of resisting sending more troops to Afghanistan to be feeble and too laughable for words. A lot can happen in the coming months and years of Democratic leadership. Anything is possible for example the draft could be reinstated, a brutal form of mass murder sending ignorant youth to an early and bloody death while the wealthy old bastards sit in their castles glutting on the blood of others like the parasites that they are. I expect social security to be put on the chopping block in the grand tradition of health reform whereby reforming social security either renders it a ghost of its present form or dismantles it entirely. Individual states are broke or going broke so it is difficult to see them taking up the slack.

By the year 3,000 a presidential election would probably consist of candidates dressed in loin cloths their skin painted in garish colors brandishing swords and spears dancing half naked to a pounding rock song complete with strobe lights, fog, and smoke machines. The winner of the election will be the candidate that can bite the most chicken heads off in a one minute period. The losers would naturally be drawn and quartered, hung by the neck until dead then burned at the stake and served up for dinner. Yes, humanity is progressing nicely. On the other hand it might be more honest.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Picture of the Week

This is a Red tail hawk, not quite mature but almost. You don’t get a chance to see one up close like this every day even if you hike a lot. Most of the shots of wildlife I get are pure chance since I’m just a casual photographer. The people who really know what they are doing set up blinds etc. so for me just to happen on this hawk was a real treat. I don’t know if you can tell from the picture but this is a very large hawk, much, much, bigger than many other species in the area. The eyes are amazing these birds can see. What a magnificent creature.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

G20 and the Pittsburgh police, no 2

via Avedon

To me it looks like they are posing with a kid they arrested like hunters with their trophy.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

the G20 in Pittsburgh, etc

The video is via Alternet, here.

The last G20 meeting was in April, when CBS breathlessly reported that Obama persuaded the G20 leaders to "set their personal differences aside and listen to reason," whatever that means.

In comments at Rob's post below I suggested that the noise we're hearing about the US threatening Iran is partly a tactic related to this week's G20 summit, where various countries are likely to pressure Obama to enact all sorts of austerity measures(e.g. substantial tax hikes) in order to shore up the dollar, and US noisemaking about Iran is a response, essentially saying to the Europeans, "don't press us on the dollar or we'll do more crazy shit."

I also look at recent arrests of young Middle-easterners here, in Dallas and Denver, as being intended to say that, yes, there really is a war on terror, and the US needs to keep spending massively, the various G20 countries need to keep us afloat, and "none of you blankedy-blank Europeans better say a peep about your lack of confidence in the dollar if you know what's good for you."

The arrest here in Dallas looks particularly suspect to me. The 19 year old kid, Hosam Maher Husein Smadi was tricked, according to the Ft Worth Star-Telegram,

into thinking he was detonating a bomb placed in an SUV parked under the skyscraper before they arrested him, according to court documents.

But the entire case appears to exist due to an entrapment scheme hatched by the FBI, and it seems questionable that this kid would have done anything unlawful without government agents goading him into it.

Federal agents said that they discovered Smadi within a group of online terrorists and that he stood out because of his willingness to conduct terrorist attacks.

"This is not related to any other investigation," said Mark White, an FBI spokesman. "This is a stand-alone terrorist."
One person's 'group of online terrorists' is another's chatroom of hotheaded morons blowing off steam. Meanwhile there is an online poll on Facebook now asking if Obama should be killed. Why doesn't the government take an interest in things like that?

Additionally, if Smadi was a 'stand-alone terrorist' and the government's entire case is based on how FBI agents decided to prod and coax him into co-operating with their frame, one has to assume that some serious funding and manpower hours were requisitioned into making this sting happen, and you don't advance careers, whether in law-enforcement or any other realm, by putting together a plan that won't fly.(The article also says they tried to talk him out of it, to persuade him that there were non-violent alternate paths to jihad. In other words, the FBI agents alternately tried to talk him into it and talk him out of it...) If this kind of thing is what the FBI is devoting resources for nowadays, then we are in pretty big trouble, and not because of terrorists.

(CNN's subsequent item indicating that their in-house expert was certain that the Dallas and Denver arrests were simply coincidental only re-enforces my mistrust. Taken all together, it all sounds like the 'terrorism theater' that Naomi Klein talks about in the Shock Doctrine.)

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Iran Nuclear Site Known for Several Years

In my last post on Iran I linked to a NYT article that had stated that the U.S. had known about the supposedly secret nuclear plant in Iran for years. Today when I clicked on it, it went to a different article and I couldn’t find the article I had linked to. Maybe I’m going nuts but at least I know I didn’t dream I read the article thanks to


WASHINGTON (CNN) — The United States was aware of Iran’s unfinished uranium enrichment site for several years, senior U.S. officials told CNN on Friday.

In fact if you read the short article the plant was known since the W. Bush regime, for several years in fact and to me several means at least three, two would be a couple years, no? Therefore it was likely known to the intelligence community at the time of the NIE report of 2007. So fuck you Obama you goddamned liar.

This is really the ultimate in bullshit. The U.S. has no right to dictate to Iran what it can or cannot do. Iran hasn’t broken any international law and if anyone has broken international law it’s the U.S. and its rabid slavering attack dog otherwise known as Israel in far more serious ways than Iran has allegedly done. Unfortunately this will go badly for Iran having been set-up by Obama and his cadre of butt kissers in Europe.

And I’ll say this one more time – It doesn’t matter if Iran were attempting to build a nuclear bomb because they would never dare use it, not even on Israel as Israel likes to claim. The news media and government have tried very hard to portray Iran as a nation of religious lunatics but the fact is Iran has not attacked any nation for the last 200 years, compare that to our record of endless vicious and brutal attacks against third world nations. The U.S. is the single greatest threat to world peace not little Iran.

Picture of the Week

I love to hike in the coastal hills south of San Francisco, indeed have hiked in them for most of my life. I can’t think of a better place to be than outdoors walking. Your senses seem to come alive, you feel the sun and the wind on your skin, the feel of the ground as you walk, you smell the plants and the earth, and you hear the sounds of the natural world. You’re more aware of your breathing and you feel your heart beating. Of course you cannot make people feel the same pleasure of a good hike but I thought I would share it in a small way with pictures I’ve taken on my little jaunts. I don’t know what this flower is called. I almost walked right by it without seeing it being as it is really only about the size of the tip of a pencil but a macro lens brings out the hidden beauty that would normally be missed. Clicking on the picture will give you the full size version.

Old Intelligence is now New Intelligence

Obama has announced that the baddies in Iran have a secret underground plant for enriching uranium and Gordon Brown says the world will be shocked, shocked I tell you! Yes, once again we have been warned of the mysterious and inscrutable denizens of the mysterious East and once again we have much ado about nothing. It seems quite likely that the plan for Iran might be similar to the plan for Iraq. It’s the same recipe. Weaken with sanctions, claim sanctions failed, invade, occupy.

Obama’s lapdog Gordon Brown regales us with the usual canards.


“The level of deception by the Iranian government, and the scale of what we believe is the breach of international commitments will shock and anger the entire international community,” Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain said, standing on the other side of Mr. Obama. “The international community has no choice today but to draw a line in the sand.”

Who is the international community? Why the U.S. and its little tag-along small fry Britain, France, Germany, in other words the “West” which quite naturally contain the only legitimate governments and thus make up the international community. So the international community (Obama) absolutely shocks us with the news that Iran has had a secret nuclear facility for years. But then we are told that the U.S. intelligence agencies have been tracking it for years. Well now, there you go again, you cannot have it both ways. If the intelligence community has followed it for years then it can hardly be considered a secret but there you go, in the land of fantasy one can have it both ways. If we were to take this logic to its natural conclusion then we should place heavy sanctions against Israel for their secret and not so secret estimated 300 nuclear warheads quickly followed by invasion and occupation.

Let’s be clear about this, the NIE report of 2007 stated with “high confidence” that Iran had ended pursuit of nuclear bombs in 2003 and if the intelligence community believed this to be true even though at the time they knew of this secret nuclear site then why is it such a big deal now? And let’s be even clearer about this, the U.S. is determined to attack Iran at some point and there is absolutely no way Iran is going to be able to convince the U.S. that it is not pursuing nuclear weapons. Again this is the same pattern we saw with the Iraq War. Bush was determined to invade Iraq even before 9/11 which provided a twisted sort of logic for the invasion and there was nothing in the world Iraq could have said or done to prevent the attack. Note Gordon Brown’s statement that the international community has no choice but to draw a line in the sand. This is ever the case, we of the West have always been put in the position where “they made us do it” by the nature of our intended victims refusal to obey our dictate

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Some are getting excited that Obama has apparently, and I stress apparently, made some sane decisions like nixing the planned installation of missiles in Europe and waiting before sending more troops to Afghanistan. Canning the missile defense in Europe is likely due more to the U.S. needing Russia’s support in placing heavy sanctions against Iran than anything else. Of course up till now Russia has been against sanctions but as it just so happens…


UNITED NATIONS — President Obama, in his maiden visit to the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, made progress Wednesday on two key issues crucial to his foreign policy agenda, wringing a concession from Russia to consider tough new sanctions against Iran and securing support from Moscow and Beijing for a Security Council resolution to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

It looks like Iran just lost a friend.

As for not sending more troops to Afghanistan per McChrystal’s request immediately it should not be taken as a sign that the endless wars will be halted or that troops will not be sent. The New York Times has an article today which clearly indicates that our Democratic Napoleons are not giving up but merely “reassessing” their complete and total failure to manipulate the Afghans in the desired manner. And vice president Biden is now pushing Pakistan as the “real” war. It’s getting hard to keep up with which war is the real and true war but I’m sure our stalwart leaders will come through in the end. Perhaps they could be convinced that the “real” war is taking place on one of the moons of Jupiter where our boys can play without hurting anyone.

I believe this reassessment is due to the failed election in Afghanistan. I would say Obama must have been fed some very bad information by his advisors regarding the outcome of the Afghan election which was supposedly a litmus test for the “new” (meaning old and rehashed) strategy mistakenly adopted from the Iraq War. Iraq was a modern metropolitan country and Afghanistan is nothing like Iraq. Iraq is still the more important of the two ongoing wars. Iraq is important because it has oil while Afghanistan is important more from a strategic viewpoint in the overarching plan of containing Russia keeping it from what the U.S. sees as important oil bearing regions in that area. I believe that what we will see is continued tight control of Iraq and their oil while they keep a looser control over Afghanistan likely just enough to maintain a few military bases in the area.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What it's Not

Oh for Christ’s sake, here we go again or as Ronnie Reagan used to say “Now there you go again.” All of a sudden General McChrystal is the new “steady hand behind the wheel” just like Colin “I Cannot Tell a Lie” Powell was supposed to be. I mean what is it that people keep looking for someone to save them? Why don’t we save ourselves instead? Personally I don’t feel like I need saving but whatever.

Simon Tisdall is polishing the good General up by presenting him as a “speaking truth to power” kind of guy. Oh spare me please. How I despise that phrase “speaking truth to power” because it’s as if you speak the truth to powerful people something good will come of it. No it won’t. The truth isn’t important, in fact it’s a commodity to be bought and sold on our brave new global market. The news media knows all about it, they’re experts on it. Let me put it this way, the powerful don’t care if you tell them the truth or not. I can’t think of a more monumental waste of time than speaking truth to power. General McChrystal is asking for more troops to be thrown into the gaping maw of the Afghan meat grinder so he can accomplish something that cannot be accomplished, ever. I fail to see how this makes McChrystal our savior.

However Tisdall makes some astute observations such as Obama has egg all over his face regarding Afghanistan. I can recall this election that took place once upon a time but not too long ago where the Democrats were so sure that they and they alone could achieve what W. Bush could not. The Democrats would take hold the reins of war and behold! All would be swell or so the theory went. The Democrats were to run a smarter war. Iraq was the wrong war it was boldly declared and turning to Afghanistan the new administration were immediately if not sooner completely over their heads in something that was beyond their comprehension. Note the look of shock on their faces after the Taliban showed that they could fight the mighty U.S. military and beat them at their own game. 15 to 20,000 Afghan fighters have made the U.S. military yell uncle and some estimate Afghanistan couldn’t be controlled if there were 300,000 U.S. troops stationed there.

However that may be it remains that none of the above is important in the least. What is important is that our occupation of Afghanistan is profoundly and morally wrong. According to Tisdall and people like him this is all about Obama and his presidency, it’s about tactics and how to win, it’s about speaking truth to power which is all a lot of nonsense. What do I care if Obama goes down in history as the second coming of Christ or as a two-bit cheesy used-car salesmen? What do all the victims of U.S. state terror care if Obama is elegant while Bush was coarse? Aren’t they just as dead whether the bullet was elegantly ordered or coarsely? This isn’t about Obama, it isn’t about strategy (as if they had one), there is nothing to win, no goal to shoot for, no strategy that will work except for one. Get the hell out of there now.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

CIA Wants Investigation Stopped

It’s difficult to imagine the full extent and breadth of our imperial endeavors. Hillary Clinton is threatening Iran again, U.S. military forces are on the move in Somalia, wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq not to mention 750 military bases around the globe. It would seem that no place on the planet is remote enough to escape the reach of U.S. imperialism or U.S. interests. Embroiled in all of this is the CIA who are guilty of using the barbaric practice of torture to extract “intelligence” from those unfortunate enough to fall into their hands as suspects. Seven former CIA chiefs have sent a letter to president Obama asking him to halt new investigations into the CIA’s use of torture by Attorney General Eric H. Holder.

You can read the letter here. (PDF file) In it you can find the kinds of excuses and rationalizations that would be expected. I notice neither the NYT nor the CIA chiefs call it torture rather it is “interrogations.” The letter claims that the CIA should not be subjected to reinvestigations at the whim of new administrations after previous administrations had already investigated the same charges and that they must be free to do their “dangerous and critical” jobs without worrying that a future Attorney General will reopen the case. Of course one wonders just how dangerous it is for the torturers, I always rather thought it was the person who was being tortured that was the one who was endangered.

The letter then maintains that public disclosure of past investigations (torture) will not only help al Qaeda to elude capture but to plan future attacks as well and then goes on to say that these “operations” (torture) save lives. One really has to question the veracity of that statement. We know that the vast majority of suspects were rounded up sometimes at random, other times by the CIA offering monetary rewards, which are hardly reliable methods of attaining reliable information regarding just who is a suspect. The idea that this produces “good” data is absurd at best.

The letter concludes with a plea that the new investigation would hamper the CIA’s ability to garner cooperation from other nation’s intelligence agencies and that it would come out which nations participated in helping the CIA torture prisoners who were told that their role would remain forever hidden. Doesn’t that just break your heart? Sniff.

There is no doubt that the CIA would be hampered by a new investigation. Good. There is a farcical quality to all of this. It seems highly unlikely that Obama would allow any damage to be done to the CIA and I cannot help but think that this is a nice little performance to convince people that we are still a functioning semi-democracy and that the system still works. It’s a system alright, it still works alright, and that’s the whole problem.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Amok in the Land of the Chosen

During the, what can only be described as monstrous , attack on Gaza beginning on December 27, 2008 the Israeli government claimed that Hamas was using civilians as shields. We now know that it was the Israeli soldiers that were using civilians as shields according to a recent U.N. report. This is so typical, the people who actually are perpetrating a crime, in this case the United States and Israel, will often accuse an intended victim of things that the accusers themselves are guilty of. A minor point yet an interesting one to me. The U.S. accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons, this from the nation with by far and away the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads and to date (let’s hope and pray it stays that way) the only nation to use atomic bombs on civilian populations deliberately and only after firebombing the rest of Japan’s cities. Oh yes, I know, the good war, only there wasn’t really anything good about it. One fine day the entire world went absolutely insane. What's so damned good about that? It gave birth to the Cold War which has delivered us all to the dire straits we now inhabit fraught with run-away corruption in the government tied to an industry of death. The shell of a Democracy itself in shambles representing the corporate giants solely while everyone else twists in the wind, futures dimmed, hopes squashed.

I think the most important point to recall is that the Palestinians are a people without a state and that Israel wants to keep it that way. To my way of thinking understanding this one crucial point is well, for a lack of a better word, crucial to understanding the Israeli/Palestinian relationship if it can be regarded as such. This fact lies at the root of the failure of all the presidents who have ever tried to resolve this conflict. It’s a simple fact really which is Israel is not interested in a peace agreement because they want to drive the Palestinians out completely so Israel will do whatever it can to prevent Palestinians from gaining any kind of legitimacy or political power. And that includes a two state solution; they just want the Palestinians disappeared. That this is driven by overt racism seems obvious. What other possible explanation is there? If the Palestinians were essentially Europeans like the Israeli do you think Israel would treat them the same? Really and truly? And though Obama claims racism has been banished here in the States (a ludicrous claim) he has no problem supporting Israel and its racist war against the Palestinians.

Israel’s behavior toward its neighbors has been atrocious its equal being handily found in our own back yard here in the States with our own dealings with Native Americans, a group more wronged than any other by the United States government and its citizens. Personally, with the state of affairs as they are today if it were up to me I’d give it all back to the Native Americans and I’d wish them good luck with the thing. Talk about adding insult to injury.

Just to prove a point once again the invaluable Jason Ditz has the story on the peace talks which as always were doomed from the get-go.


Though officials termed the meeting as a “good” one, the second straight day of talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US envoy George Mitchell again failed to yield any agreement on a settlement freeze that would allow the resumption of peace talks.

Though the perception, if any, among Americans is that the Palestinians have torpedoed peace talks it is in truth the Israeli who have prevented any peace agreement because, again, to make peace would be tantamount to giving the Palestinians legitimacy as human beings. To do that would mean the Palestinians had rights and to recognize that they had rights would lead the Israeli down a road they do not wish to travel.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Afghanistan’s Strategic Importance

We Looked Under All the Rocks

Something significant just blew by and I’m not sure too many have noted its passing. I was just saying in my last post that al-Qaeda had eight years to leave Afghanistan and probably had. And here is the good general McChrystal confirming that this is indeed true.Via Jason Ditz…


"I do not see indications of a large al-Qaida presence in Afghanistan now," McChrystal told reporters at the Dutch Defense Ministry, where he met military officials.

That’s pretty clear isn’t it? McChrystal does not see indications of a large al-Qaeda presence in Afghanistan now.

So why is this so important? Obama tells us the reason for the ongoing occupation in Afghanistan is to protect Americans from terrorists as in al-Qaeda but now that it is known that al-Qaeda doesn’t have a large presence in Afghanistan it rather lets the air out of Obama’s bag. Will this change anything? I doubt it. More likely, it, and the war will pass like ships in the night as McChrystal’s statement will be forgotten and we can forge ahead with the same old lie stamped on our foreheads, right next to the word “sucker”.

I came across an interesting view on the “why” we are really in Afghanistan as I read Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. foreign Policy a book that is basically a transcript of a discussion between Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar. Achcar relates that the reason for our presence in Afghanistan is Afghanistan’s strategic value due to its geographical location. Achcar says that the U.S. never really planned to control Afghanistan the way we control Iraq pointing out that it would take far more troops then are now there, indeed, even more than the 130,000 troops now in Iraq due to Afghanistan’s geography, size, and complexities. According to Achcar to understand why the location is important is that looking at Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, where the U.S. has set up airbases, lie in the heart of the former Soviet Union and that Washington is trying to set a military vice around the Caspian Basin, an important source of oil and gas.

Even more importantly, according to Achcar, is that Afghanistan and Central Asia lie in the heart of the landmass extending from European Russia to China which is important to Washington who is worried about the recent joint military maneuvers between China and Russia. These reasons at least make much more sense than the terrorist scenario we have been expected to believe. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, Dick Cheney agrees with Achcar.


The oil in the Caspian basin is estimated to be worth over US $12 trillion. The sudden collapse of the USSR and subsequent opening of the region has led to an intense investment and development scramble by international oil companies. In 1998 Dick Cheney commented that "I can't think of a time when we've had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian."

For A Little Bit of Fuel

This brings us to another “why” which is why what we are doing is wrong. If Achcar is correct in his assessment then we are occupying and killing civilians for some very strange motives. It really doesn’t tally when you look at the price the dirt-poor Afghans must pay just so the U.S. can pursue some future goal based on insane paranoia and our preoccupation with our own interests. Just for a taste of what the Afghans have been going through for eight years of U.S. occupation. Via Chris Floyd...


Jan Mohammad, an old man with a white beard and green eyes, said angrily: "I ran, I ran to find my son because nobody would give me a lift. I couldn't find him."

He dropped his head on his palm that was resting on the table, and started banging his head against his white mottled hand. When he raised his head his eyes were red and tears were rolling down his cheek: "I couldn't find my son, so I took a piece of flesh with me home and I called it my son. I told my wife we had him, but I didn't let his children or anyone see. We buried the flesh as it if was my son."

He broke off, then shouted at the young Assadullah, who had knocked at the old man's house and told his son to come with them there was free fuel for everyone, "You destroyed my home", Assadu-llah turned his head and looked at the wall. "You destroyed my home," he shouted again. Jan Mohammad dropped his head again on his palm and rolled it left and right, his big gray turban moving like a huge pendulum, "Taouba [forgiveness]," he hissed. "People lost their fathers and sons for a little bit of fuel. Forgiveness."

Words like forgiveness do not fit in with the vernacular of U.S. foreign policy. Nor do words like moral or empathy. Just imagine thousands of lives slaughtered just so the U.S. can strategically position itself for some half-imagined benefit that might or might not present itself in an uncertain future. The lack of concern for human life is positively breathtaking. It’s like driving your four wheel drive through a crowd of people killing dozens because it would shave a few minutes off your commute.

This is Obama’s war now. He claimed it as his own during his campaign, possibly the only promise he has kept. The blood of these innocent people are on Obama’s hands. Seventy five people incinerated and that is only a fraction of the body count since Obama was inaugurated. One could argue that Obama cannot end the occupation of Afghanistan but that is not true. There is growing opposition to the Afghan War in Congress, even Pelosi has come out against sending more troops there and the fact is I don’t even see Obama trying to end the war. I don’t see Obama trying one bit.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

9.12. Now what?

First, the nice young lady above is Lori Harfenist of The Resident. I imagine a lot of people, whether they lived in NYC in 2001 or not, share her view that fretting about conspiracies is redundant, while allowing that a generally corrupt government is likely. I wonder if she actually does look at things that way, given how she characterizes suspicion of the government, and I wonder what she and Bob from Pacifica would make of each other's views.

As you may have noticed, I closed the comments on Rob's 9.10 post, "Riding old 9/11". For now, comments still aren't moderated. I'd prefer to avoid that, and I don't want to have to reprimand anybody, regular visitors especially. I regard all the persons who participated in the previous comments as regular visitors, and feel all are due respect, and need to offer it in kind.

Over at A Tiny Revolution, Bernard Chazelle posted "Everything's a Lie" discussing some the same issues Rob and the commenters touched upon below, in Rob's post.

Here's Chazelle:

But here's the funny thing. People don't seem to mind [i.e.the lying] very much. This is pure Hegelian alienation: the acceptance that some creatures, by virtue of their function status, are normatively alien from us. They may do things (lie, kill, steal) that no one else would be allowed even to consider. Normative is the key word here, because they can't just do anything. They are strict norms of conduct they must abide by. So a senator who steals a stamp may go to jail, but if the same senator pushes for a billion-dollar bill to favor a baby-killing (military) industry that will make him mega-rich once he leaves office, that's fine. He can go on and give speeches about taking on the baby killers. If a president lies about his intern's extracurriculars, he gets impeached. But if he lies about a bogus threat and bombs the crap out of the Sudan, that's OK. So it's not true that anything goes. The modalities of lying have to be accepted. It's what you might call a normative alienation. See the division of labor: they get to lie and the little guy doesn't, but the little guy gets to approve the norms and they don't. This applies not just in politics but across all modes of power.

Here's part of what I wrote over at ATR:

I don't know if Walter Mondale was uniformly honest, I imagine he wasn't. But he was honest about the possibility of raising taxes, and got walloped in '84. Bill Clinton promised everybody that he would be a warm, huggable kind of conservative-- essentially-- and was wildly successful.

I'm lying myself, because that's not what Clinton said in '92, but a more accurate description of how he refashioned himself in '95.

If regular readers of lefty blogs all sit on their hands and stay out of the 2010 midterms, I'm guessing this will reduce turn-out by 1 or 2 percent at the most. If those same blog readers go and vote for whoever among 3rd party candidates make the ballot-- even if it's libertarians-- then presumably 3rd party candidates might poll at 1.5 to 2.0 percent nationally, instead of 0.5 to 1.0 per cent.

But some liberals would blanch at the thought of doing this, in part out of fear that the TV talking heads would spin it as support for social security privatization. (But most who think of doing it but decide against it, I'd wager, would only stop themselves because of the thought that it might mean the republican might get in or stay in.)

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Riding Old 9/11

It is September 11, 2001. Al Qaeda hijacks four commercial airliners two of which are crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, a third is crashed into the Pentagon, and the fourth crashed in Pennsylvania as it headed for Washington D.C.. While the U.S. has been no slouch when it comes to using State Terror in the form of air bombings and the like from the American point of view it is insufferable that Americans be subjected to the same type of horrible deaths that the U.S. has been dealing out for many, many years. It was a gift from heaven, or bin Laden, for George W. Bush who had already been eying Iraq for invasion.

After investigation by the intelligence community the most that could be said was that the idea originated in Afghanistan but the actual plotting was carried out in Germany and the United Arab Emirates. The Taliban on October 4th had offered to turn bin Laden over to Pakistan for trial but Pakistan refused the offer. Next on October 7 the Taliban offered to try bin Laden in Afghanistan which was rejected by the United States. Thus we see that bin Laden could have been easily had very early on but getting bin Laden was never the goal. It was on that same day, the seventh of October that Bush’s war dubbed Operation Enduring Freedom was begun though it wasn’t long before Iraq became the main target for the War on Terror. Today Obama is reanimating the Afghan War even as Iraq explodes into more violence.

Some felt it made sense to send the military into Afghanistan to root out the Taliban despite that the Taliban likely had nothing to do with the attack on the WTC. Attacking Afghanistan was likely meant more as a show for the rubes here in the States for it was Iraq that held the real prize, all that oil. Still, Afghanistan has strategic importance for the United States but when you look at the troop numbers clearly Iraq is deemed by far the more important of the two. There are still roughly twice as many troops in Iraq then are now in Afghanistan even though Afghanistan is supposedly the new center for the War on Terror, the “Right War” as it were.

So it was make a feint to Afghanistan and then a thrust into the heart of Iraq. The fact is the United States has been taking advantage of the collapse of the old Soviet Union and has been doing so for years. What better time to consolidate an American stranglehold on the Middle East with all of its glittering oil? If you recall in those first days of the Iraq invasion the U.S. military secured the Iraq oil fields even while looters pillaged one of the most important museums in the world containing treasures from the very cradle of civilization as we know it. Of course that was nothing compared to the horrors that were to come but it certainly showed where the priorities lay.

Ideology had nothing to do with the Iraq invasion. The neocons are totally overrated in their influence. This whole thing has more to do with Russia and China and keeping them from having any control over the oil fields in the Middle East. So these neocons with their new found ideology were likely no more than convenient tools or allies. That oil is the reason for our presence in the Middle East is what we should keep in mind. Ideology is only useful to throw up a smoke screen for disguising the real motives for waging war. Likewise, ideology has nothing to do with escalating a war in Afghanistan. Some believe that it is a planned oil pipe line to bypass Russia others dismiss the oil line and insist that it is Afghanistan’s strategic location that is of value to the U.S. in a much bigger game in the U.S. bid to control as much of the world’s oil as possible. Whatever you may believe one thing is clear we are riding the same rails that helped get us there in first place. Obama insists that the war in Afghanistan is necessary to protect Americans which no doubt his masters in the corporate world would love to have us believe. Yet if al Qaeda is the true target then all that has been accomplished is that they have merely gone elsewhere to fester and grow untroubled by bombs falling in Afghanistan.

In the end 9/11 wasn’t all that important despite that Obama and others still invoke the 9/11 ghost train and ride it for all it’s worth. The whole premise for the Afghan War, as we are given to understand it, that we are being protected from terrorists is completely absurd. Al Qaeda has had eight years to make a get-away. And why on earth would they stay? I don’t think there is much doubt that we were headed for the Iraq invasion sooner or later and 9/11, whether fortuitous calamity, or allowed to happen, or even caused to happen by our own government, will be used to grease the wheels of imperialism on into an unforeseeable future if Obama is any example.

At the beginning of the Afghan campaign Bush bombed the supply route for food that fed from 5 to 7.5 million Afghans in a deliberate attempt to starve the civilian population, punishment for not having the type of government the U.S. approved of or perhaps for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And despite recent vows by general McChrystal to “protect” the Afghan civilian population we see the recent dropping of 500 pound bombs on stolen tankers in the middle of an Afghan village killing as many as 75 innocent civilians. Clearly there is a huge difference between what is said and what is actually occurring on a daily basis.

Just as clearly 9/11 should have been an abject lesson for Americans which is that it is absolutely wrong to interfere with the lives of other peoples in other nations even if we have strong interests in doing so. Naturally the opposite occurred and here we are today. It’s one thing for a war to become unpopular because it isn’t going well and another to be against a war because it wrong. To date the Afghan War has cost 150 billion dollars I believe. And as someone pointed out that is what health care reform is going to cost if you trust the figures. So this is the choice the government faces. Continue with the imperial wars or pay for health care reform because you cannot do both and it looks to me they are choosing war. No doubt this is one of the “hard choices” I heard so much of during the last presidential election.

Today, eight years later we see that Obama is not only escalating the war in Afghanistan but is also escalating the war in Iraq by increasing the number of mercanary murderers and thugs there. Oh and you thought we were removing the troops well guess again.


Nearly eight months into his administration President Obama has not significantly reduced the number of troops in the nation since taking office, and what was roughly 135,000 when he arrived is now still 131,000 or so, and this number is not expected to change until at least 60 days after the January election. So indeed, these thousands of new contractors are “replacing” troops that haven’t actually gone anywhere, and amount to a covert escalation of the overall force operating in the nation.

So much for that transparency in government we heard so much about. Got your ticket ready? Then it’s all aboard old 9/11 the ghost train from hell.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Regarding Hillary's 2008 plan, and individual mandates

OK Buzzcook, I read the lengthy(4,000+ wd) post you referred to in the comments,
"An analysis of Clinton's [2008]Health Plan Proposal"

Robert Laszewski talks about how H. Clinton's 2008 healthcare plan(hereafter I'll just call it HRC-08)says that there will be a public option allowing regular people to buy a plan that's the equivalent of the "Federal Employee Health Benefit Program", something a lot of pols talk about.

Yes, the healthcare plan for federal employees is pretty good, but SO WHAT? If you've ever actually looked at buying health insurance on your own, you'd see that the major companies don't offer a one-size-fits-all plan for everybody, but rather a pretty wide array of plans, with the economy plans offering negligible coverage with high deductibles, and the top of the line plans offering at least as much coverage at the "FEHBP" plan, sometimes more. If you're curious, go to and plug in your personal data and see what's available to you. Blue Cross and Humana, for example, offer an especially wide range of plans, but the prime ones are well out of my reach.

(incidentally, the reason I recommend you look at ehealthinsurance is because they don't ask you, as of this writing, for an email or home phone number, which many of the other online comparison services do, presumably so agents in your area can subsequently pester you. For the record I have not purchased anything from them, just window-shopped.)

Laszewski also discusses the HRC-08 approach to individual mandates,

"Limit Premium Payments to a Percentage of Income: The refundable tax credit will be designed to prevent premiums from exceeding a percentage of family income, while maintaining consumer price consciousness in choosing health plans."

OK, the devil in her plan finally shows itself. Tax credits are all well and good, but what if they're not enough to purchase decent coverage? Then you have to purchase sub-standard coverage(I guess that's where "consumer price consciousness in choosing health plans" comes in.)

I'm a male in my 40s, and from what I've looked at, it would cost me at least 250/month to purchase meaningful coverage, as opposed to plans with 3,000/yr or 5,000/yr deductibles* that don't cover dr's visits until the deductible is satisfied, which are often more "reasonable."

Except they're not. The canard that individual mandate proponents often trot out is that individual mandates will force healthy people to buy coverage when they're well, and quit gaming the system by waiting until they're sick, implicitly suggesting that is what the bulk of the nation's 45 million plus uninsured are doing.

I don't believe that for a moment. If I had a spare 250 dollars a month I would buy a policy, but I'm really poor. I'll wager that most people who don't have health insurance just can't afford it, and some have looked at the bargain-basement policies and figured out they're essentially worthless. And of course some had insurance and were bumped by their insurance companies, and can't find anybody who'll cover them, except at exorbitant rates.

Let's say you are a cashier or a short-order cook, earning 8.50 or 9 bucks an hour. (Let's also assume you have no dependents and no pre-existing conditions.)

Sure, maybe you could, with some difficulty, afford to enroll in a plan that only costs 80 or 90 bucks a month, assuming you can stay healthy and don't actually need that 80 or 90 bucks that month, should you actually need to see a doctor and buy some medication, something the economy plans generally wont help you with, or will only help you a spitting-in-your-poor-face, token amount.

Let's see. You're paying 80 bucks a month, 960 dollars a year, the doctor charges 80 bucks for a visit, and the 80 bucks a month plan reduces your out-of-pocket expense to 45 bucks? Wow! But you don't have 125 bucks to spare on healthcare for the month, not if you want food, and some electricity? You're a bum.

And since you're making, say,18,000 dollars/yr, that 960 bucks a year is still too little to deduct off your income tax, because even if it's more than 7.5% of your taxable income, you still don't make enough to be able to itemize.

My point, buzzcook, is that plans with individual mandates are eminently gameable-- they're designed so the politicians can take credit for dramatically reducing the number of uninsured folks while forcing a large segment of society to buy junk policies, by defunding vouchers so they only pay for worthless coverage, or by making eligibilty for tax credits that phases out below a certain point, in the same way that making something tax-deductible means only people who make enough money to itemize may benefit.

Do I know HRC created a plan with this aspect designed to be a deliberate gimmick? No, but I don't have to. It's not about her, any more than it's about Obama now that he's president. It isn't even about the democrats. It's a systemic vulnerability that's built into individual mandates and that's why it's foul public policy, period. I'm sure you've heard of unfunded mandates in other contexts.

They won't call it cutting the plan off at its knees;

they'll call it "reaching a bipartisan solution" or

"allowing the private sector breathing room to innovate"

and when a New York Times story about some Duke or University of Michigan study questioning the effectiveness of individual mandates comes out 3 or 4 years later, it will studiously avoid connecting the dots, to prove that the democrats deliberately created legislation to "allow" themselves to be played by the other guys, as they both wink at each other from across the aisle.

That's why I think my criticism of HRC-08(and BHO-09) is legitimate.

Later this week I'll post about my thought on how to fix healthcare. Maybe my ideas will be just as flawed, just differently flawed. We'll see.

(*I've even seen some companies offer 7,500/yr deductible plans, although they're still rare.)

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor day on 'the real news'

The Real News on Youtube.

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

A Perfect Little Hell

According to the NYT the U.S. was responsible for over two thirds of all armaments sales in 2008. One can only surmise that there is a connection between the instability the U.S. has been causing around the world ever since WWII (well before that actually but it really got going after the “good war”) and the huge amount of sales made by U.S. arms manufacturers which was estimated at 37.8 billion dollars for 2008. For comparison Italy came in second place with only 3.7 billion. Those socialists in France were responsible for 2.5 billion but you get the idea, the U.S. is like major league big-time, the biggest by far when it comes to purveying death on the world market.

On the flip-side it’s even sadder when you look at who the customers are -- developing countries.


The study found that the larger arms deals concluded by the United States with developing nations last year included a $6.5 billion air defense system for the United Arab Emirates, a $2.1 billion jet fighter deal with Morocco and a $2 billion attack helicopter agreement with Taiwan. Other large weapons agreements were reached between the United States and India, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, South Korea and Brazil.

Russia was far behind in 2008 with $3.3 billion in weapons sales to the developing world, about 7.8 percent of all such agreements. The report says that while Russia continues to have China and India as its main weapons clients, Russia’s new focus is on arms sales to Latin American nations, in particular to Venezuela.

I take special note in the list of U.S. clients where I see Iraq as one of them. What a coincidence. India is a nation with rampant poverty and one can’t help imagine that India has better ways of spending money other than on arms. And what is Morocco going to do with a 2 billion dollar jet fighter, take on China? It’s interesting how this reveals that national leaders everywhere have little interest in their own people. The only people benefiting are the arms dealers and the politicians and everyone else suffers. You have to wonder why people continue to make deities out of national leaders, a phenomenon that is especially disturbing here in the States. The result of this mindless trust in leaders is endless war and conflict.

Congratulations to the U.S. for helping to make the world a perfect little hell, especially for the weak and the defenseless. The U.S. doesn’t stand for anything, it doesn’t stand for shit. And a society that can’t even take care of its elderly and sick isn’t worth spit.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Plan

According to the NYT Robert Gates has signaled (With middle finger?) that he was open to increasing the level of troops in Afghanistan. And here we go again as Adm. Mullen says “Time is not on our side” and there is a “sense of urgency” regarding the Afghan War. No there isn’t a sense of urgency. The only sense of urgency is in the imagination of Mullen’s fevered mind. True they say we are losing the war but then that was entirely predictable, indeed it was predicted by more than one person. A little farther down the article through the miasma of its own propaganda we find…


A wily former C.I.A. director who has worked for eight presidents of both parties, Mr. Gates will also take cues on troop increases from Mr. Obama, whose schedule and public speeches have been dominated this summer by the health care debate.

Oh that wily wascally fun loving effervescing lover of boiling cats and troop increases. The man who has worked for eight presidents of both parties. What better illustrates the continuity of presidents past and present than that wily Robert Gates? You know, every once in a while the New York Times will print a really excellent article with actual facts and information. Unfortunately this article isn’t one of those but one may still glean little tidbits of truth from the shores of this ocean of horse manure.

But it gets even better if you have the courage to read further into the article. Apparently the good General McChrystal has three options dumbed down for Obama’s consumption. They are, in fact, Plan 1 from outer space, Plan 2 from outer space, and Plan 3 from outer space, Plan 9 from outer space they already made a movie of. Plan 1 is high risk with the economy package of only 10,000 more troops, Plan 2 is the medium risk plan with 25,000 more troopers, and the new and improved low risk plan 3 from outer space for those who will settle for nothing but the best comes with a whopping 45,000 troops!

Then, unexpectedly, the wily Gates shows us some wisdom of the ages…

At the news conference, Mr. Gates said he understood why public support for the war in Afghanistan was slipping, but counseled patience. “The fact that Americans would be tired of having of their sons and daughters at risk and in battle is not surprising,” Mr. Gates said.

He asked that Americans give the strategy time to work. “Our new commander appeared on the scene in June,” he said, adding that not all of the 21,000 additional American troops Mr. Obama approved for Afghanistan in March are in place yet.

Golly, that wily Robert Gates is awful smart. He must be correct, lack of public support isn’t waning because we have been waging two brutal and illegal wars for eight tediously long years with absolutely, and I mean absolutely nothing to show for it in the eyes of the public and rightly so. It hasn’t benefited anyone except the defense industry and contractors and a few other types of parasite. It most certainly hasn’t benefited the general population of Iraq, what’s left of it. The funny thing is these guys don’t really give a damn what the public thinks any more than they care about the welfare of Iraq or anyone else other than themselves. So they will plow ahead with whatever they call it these days, humanitarian colonoscopy, spreading democracy, or what have you. Meanwhile the NYT will obviously gladly crank out much propaganda in support of U.S. imperialism.

The U.S. is playing a high stakes game gambling the stability and well being of the U.S. against the prospect of future world dominance hoping that somehow, some way, this is all going to turn out alright despite that almost every move the government makes backfires or blows up in their face. Surely with the monetary and industrial advantages that are enjoyed by the U.S. there are other ways of remaining a major world player other than this brute force that has been favored for so many long years. But now I am entering into pure fantasy so I better stop here.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

a reminder, from February 2008

Yes, another gripe about Obama from his left. This was an ad that his campaign ran against HRC in Feb 2008. At the time somebody at dKos criticized it for being unfair. It struck me as fair, since individual mandates struck me as a public policy abomination in '08, when Obama apparently opposed them. Today, in the fall of 2009 he supports them, and they're no less foul.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Dead Horse Special

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on everything I write but after being falsely (sniff) accused of either not being hard enough on the Democrats or of being too hard on Obama or of being unaware of the nature of power particularly in the realm of world politics I would like clarify my position. So here is my version of what I believe is happening.

It’s the Oil

First of all what is crucial to understanding world politics is the relationship of oil to power and its relationship to the actions of China, Russia, Japan, and the United States. Everything really revolves around these powers and the quest for controlling the oil sources of the world. From my point of view the quest for controlling the oil has little to do with the oil companies other than they are eager for more and more profits. However the true value of oil is that it gives power and a huge advantage to those who control it and what this means for the U.S. who is the dominant force in the world today by a huge margin is that in order to stay on top they have to stay in control of the oil. Basically it boils down to if you control the oil then other nations who need oil (which is everyone) are more willing to bend to U.S. interests because the U.S. is controlling the oil sources. Take Japan for instance. Everyone is now saying Japan will be more independent from the U.S. due to the recent election there yet that independence, if it really exists, will still be balanced by the fact that the U.S. controls Japans source of oil in the Middle East. That’s power with a capital “P”.

In a sense what this means is that the real aim of U.S. foreign policy is to keep China and Russia from gaining any ascendancy over controlling the oil sources. It’s really a no-brainer that oil was the reason for the invasion of Iraq but it was that same invasion that has backfired on itself resulting in a segment of the puppet regime in Iraq being closely affiliated with Iran who has relations to China. So if the U.S. leaves Iraq, as in really and truly leaving with all the troops, it would be tantamount to giving up control of that huge reserve of oil to China. And this is why no matter what is said by whom we will never, ever, give up the control of Iraqi oil because to do so would be to forfeit our position as the dominant power on the planet.

Who is Wagging Who?

It seems to me a lot of arguments revolve not so much about what is happening in the world as it does about who is wagging who? Does Israel really control U.S. Foreign policy? Is the president in charge or is the Pentagon in charge? Did the CIA take over the government or is it the president’s personal army? Is corporate America in charge or is the government in charge?

Okay, so let’s begin with Israel, the world’s longest running tragedy. I find the idea that little Israel is controlling the U.S. to be absurd in the extreme. Yes, Israel has a large influence with politicians but this influence is largely that of campaign contributions. During W. Bush’s term the Israeli asked permission of the U.S. to fly through Iraqi air space in order to get at Iran, a request that was flatly refused by W. Bush. I didn’t see any Israeli warplanes flying through Iraqi air space, did you? Of course not. Let’s try to keep this real okay? The Untied States: largest and most advanced military force in the world backed up by literally thousands of nuclear warheads. Israel: A puny little nation basically a parasite that only exists today because of U.S. backing and support mostly in the form of millions of dollars backed up by maybe 300 nuclear warheads. Please.

Now let’s look at the military-industrial-scientific-congressional complex and the Pentagon and the president and who’s in charge. The president is in charge but each faction has influence on the president. Now that I’ve settled that let’s look at the CIA. Who’s in charge, the CIA or the President? The president of course in charge, in fact the CIA is the president’s personal and private army. I wrote about it extensively here.

Does Ideology Play a Role?

Absolutely not. To view the machinations of our government as based on ideology is simply too idealistic to be believable. Everything George W. Bush did was completely rational when viewed from the perspective of the need to control the oil sources already discussed above. That our government wants to lead the world to a new era of peace and prosperity is utterly ridiculous as is the idea that they wish to spread Democracy. The name of the game is world domination and oil is the tool for achieving and maintaining that power.

This is why I despise world leaders for their goal is always power and how to keep it. That they pay more attention to those corporations who give them large campaign donations then they do individual private citizens shouldn’t be difficult to understand unless you are an imbecile. This is basically how I see things. Yes, the Pentagon, the corporations, and Israel all have influence with the president but until I see some compelling proof otherwise the president is basically in charge and therefore should be held responsible for his decisions.