Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Defeat of the Bush Project for the Middle East

Last evening on Bill Moyer's Journal the title line of this post was said by one of his two guests who were discussing the refugee crisis in the Middle East caused by Iraqi refugees seeking asylum in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Journalist George Packer said, "...we're talking about the return of real politic. This is the final, I think, defeat of the Bush Project for the Middle East. We're talking about the only way that we can begin to secure our interests is by cutting deals with regimes that we don't like."
Packer and Deborah Amos of NPR have both spent many years in the Middle East and brought their expertise to the program.

Packer was answering the Moyer's question: "But arching over everything was the neo-conservative conviction that we were going to see the birth pains of democracy in the region you two cover. Are what you're talking about the birth pains of democracy?"

Both guests journalists, Packer and Amos, painted a stark picture of that region of the world and an even more dismal one of Iraq itself. Both told the same story: Iraq has 'lost' two million people who fled the situation created by the preemptive invasion. But wait, they cautioned, these refugees are not like the ones we see fleeing Darfur: these are upper to middle class Iraqis, the doctors, the engineers, the intellectuals, the bureaucrats- the people who are needed to run a society. They are gone and most will not return.

Not only is the loss a problem for Iraq but the refugees are a major problem for the Syrians, Lebanese and Jordanian governments. Their budgets are breaking trying to provide for these refugees. Parker warns that the refugees are unemployed there and are ripe targets for extremist fundamentalist recruiters. Both the refugees and their hosts are becoming more and more radicalized against America because of the war.

Moyers then turned to Iran and asked both journalists what they were hearing among the people in that region about the drumbeat of war with Iran. Parker said, "And the irony is the only country in the Middle East that has a genuine grass roots democratic and even secular movement is our number one enemy, Iran. That country has a-- a movement every bit as promising as what we saw in Eastern Europe and in other countries. And-- and yet we're almost at war with Iran. And I think if we do go to war with Iran it will set that movement back 30 years."

Amos said, " I can assure you that there is a rising anxiety level in the places I've just come back from, Beirut, Damascus, Amman, about the possibility of a war. And it's back. I mean, I've been going regularly. And it receded for a while. And I feel like people are much more anxious than they were just a few months ago."

The most stark prediction was said in the closing statement of George Parker. He warned, "What I fear is it will happen overnight. We will wake up one morning and discover that we have begun bombing targets inside Iran. And so there won't be a chance for all of the-- questions about war with Iran. What do you do afterward? You know, what-- what-- what do we do to protect our-- our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan from Iranian reprisals? What about Israel? Those questions have to be talked about now. But unlike Iraq this could happen very quickly. And it will be too late once those questions start getting asked."

Too late. Exactly, too late. But that is exactly how despots operate. They need no input, no advice because they know exactly what they want to 'accomplish.' To hell with the citizens after all, they are but mere pawns in the Grand Scheme.

Too late.


Friday, September 28, 2007

The time Has Come For Citizen Action Against the Government

Now. Not in a few weeks or months, but NOW! By all accounts, the Bush/Cheney team will be launching a military assault on Iran any day now. It will be a sustained missile attack at strategic military sites throughout the nation. It will come during the night when we are asleep.

There is no other plan after the attack; it will be just like the attack on Iraq: a military 'victory' and damned the consequences. Seventy million Iranian citizens instantly angered at our nation. Seventy million potential new terrorists. A billion Muslims outraged!
Bush and Cheney could give a damned. They don't care one bit. What do they have to lose? Surely not credibility because that was lost years ago. They know that their legacy is a fait accompli. They have no election to worry about. Nothing left to lose by such a bold action.

Who will stop them? Congress is totally impotent in the matter as has been shown since the 2006 elections. The military could enact a coup d'etat but the public, sadly, doesn't really know how serious this situation is. They would not understand a coup at all.

The public needs to be educated and quickly. What could accomplish this?

As I see it, only massive citizen action can awaken the sleeping masses.

Several months ago a friend and I were talking about such an action and we were struck by a very simple but highly effective method of getting the attention of the entire nation in a rather fast way. The automobile as an agent of action. Not a moving automobile but a stationary automobile. A 'stalled' automobile.
Stalled in rush hour traffic causing massive traffic jams all over America starting in Boston and New York, moving westward to Detroit, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Chicago. Then to Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston. Further west to Denver, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Thousands of stalled cars, millions of people brought to a standstill in 3 hours.

Americans would demand to know what was happening. The answer is simple: citizen action to stop the madness of George Bush and Dick Cheney. "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore!"

The Great American Stall Out.

Interested in spreading the word from coast to coast? Email me.

On the Probability of War with Iran

Those who make a habit of reading the tea leaves related to the Bush Administration's obsession with provoking war with the Iranians know that the U.S. has been actively drawing up war plans against Iran since at least 2004. The debate among administration officials these days seems to revolve around the type of war that will be delivered to us.

One scenario envisioned by the war hawks involves merely targeting suspected nuclear facilities in Iran, while other Bush advisors call for attacks on up to 2,000 of Iran's military installations, communications centers, and related targets.

The Bush administration has even managed to convince many Democrats to join in on the anti-Iranian festivities, as the Senate, in a 76-22 vote on Wednesday, approved a non-binding amendment to the 2008 defense authorization bill that designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a "foreign terrorist organization". This is in response to claims that Iran is providing weapons and training to Shi'ite militias in Iraq, but the net result of this action will be to drive even more support behind Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian hardliners. Here are some of the relevant paragraphs of Senate Amendment 3017:
(3) that it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies;
(4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies;
(5) that the United States should designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists, as established under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and initiated under Executive Order 13224;
Senator Clinton voted for the amendment, while Senator Obama abstained. The only significant criticism of this piece of noxious legislation came from Senator Jim Webb, who called the move Vice President Dick Cheney's "fondest pipe dream."

The demonization of the Republic of Iran began many years ago after the Iranian Revolution, and the visit this week by Ahmadinejad to Columbia University ended up being another public relations coup for the Bush Administration. University President Lee Bollinger played an important role for the Bush administration in the run-up to a war with Iran, introducing the Iranian President as a "petty and cruel dictator" and someone whose comments on the Holocaust demontrate that he is "either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated."

While Ahmadinejad is indeed a poor historian, he is the leader of a sovereign nation, and it is clear that there is a concentrated effort by American elites such as Bollinger to justify war with Iran through the process of demonization, whether as willing participants or as unwitting dupes. This is regrettable, because an attack on Iranian military targets will likely mean at least a significantly wider regional war, and perhaps be a trigger for a new world war.

I am of the opinion that military actions against Iran will commence in February or March 2008, and that the net result of this foolhardy plan of action will be an inescapable escalation of the conflict into a wider war with the use of nuclear weaponry for the first time since 1945.

May God have mercy on all of our souls if this comes to pass.

This essay on the probability of war with Iran was also cross-posted on the historymike blog.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

GOP 'Vote Caging" Ready to Suppress Ohio's 08 Election

The McClatchy News posted an alarming article about a tactic that the GOP is using in several states to suppress the Democratic vote among inner city voters. It is called 'vote caging.' according to the article: Caging, used in the past to target poor minorities in heavily Democratic precincts, entails sending mass mailings to certain voters and then using the undelivered letters to compile lists of voters for eligibility challenges.

The article goes on to say: In Ohio, which swung the 2004 election to Bush, new Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said in a phone interview that an election law passed last year and signed by former Republican Gov. Bob Taft effectively ``institutionalized'' vote caging.

Gosh, what a surprise: GOP dirty tricks. But, of course, Jesus is on their side so everything is OK.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fascists for Christ v. Fascists for Islam

Lots of 'good' Christian folks were up in arms over the visit to America of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. No doubt the commentators on FoxNews dragged out their 'islamofascist' label as they told the story of his visit. Surely Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity pounded the word into the ears of their captive audiences.

Good Christians all. And good patriots of America, as well. No doubt about it, just ask them.

Does it matter much whether the Fascism is comes from an Islamic state or a Christian state? Fascism is fascism.

How odd that the good Christian folks here in America, those who have been labeled 'Christofascists' by some, cannot see that what they want for our government here is little different from those Islamic fascists over there. Many in Toledo got their panties all in a knot when an op ed appeared in The Blade written by Dr. Amjad Hussain who challenged the policy of Christian conversion in Muslim countries, specifically that the U.S. military has allowed Christian groups to send religious and proselytizing materials to the American troops overseas.
A bevy of letters to the editor followed his article.

Christofascists, or Dominionists as they are more properly called, are conservative politically-active Christians who seek to influence and/or control secular civil government through political action. Their ultimate goal is a nation governed by Christians. Further they demand that this nation be governed by a Christian understanding of biblical law. Biblical law to me means eye-for-eye punishment and old testament biblical 'morality' as well as Christian teaching in public places and certainly in schools.

Enter Iran. Iran has achieved that goal. The Koran is their bible and it rules the land, the schools, the culture, as well as the government, the laws, and its constitution. Thus that term, islamofascism. A theocracy.

Enter Dominionists. America is their goal. They are working hard to have the Bible rule this land, our schools, or culture, our government, our laws, and our Constitution. A theocracy.

Democracy as we know it will evaporate. Fascism, led by religious zealots, will overtake our American way of life. We ought to be very afraid of these people. They are hard to spot. The look like ordinary Americans. They fly the flag and have magnetic yellow ribbons on their car bumpers. But they lurk in every neighborhood in this country, fed by their righteous leaders, their magazines, their web pages. They know their mission: congress, state legislatures, public school boards. Kansas was one of their targets and nearly succeeded in turning the state into a fully-functioning christofascist empire.

Domionists, christofascists, ultra right-wing fundamentalist Christians. What ever their name, the mission is the same: turning America into a theocracy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Songstress Mitchell Portrays Contemporay American Life

Joni Mitchell has recorded a new albumn, "Shine".
In her songs she critiques comtemporary American
life. Her album is found on the Starbucks label.
The title song, "Shine", has the following lyrics:
Shine on the Catholic Church/and the prisons
that it owns/Shine on all the churches/that love
less and less/. The song continues, Shine on lousy
leadership/licensed to kill/Shine on dying
soldiers/in patriotic pain/Shine on mass destruction/
in some God's name/.

In another song Mitchell sings, "The cats are in the
flowerbeds/A red hawk rides the sky/I guess I should
be happy/Just to be alive/But we have poisoned
everything/And oblivious to it all/The cell phone
zombies babble/Through the shopping malls.

Other good songs are "hanah" and "If I had a heart,
I'd die".

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