Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Iraq Pipeline Hit Will Cause Electricity Interruptions

You're looking at the latest hit by saboteurs on a key northern oil pipeline Wednesday, forcing a 10 percent cut on the Iraqi national power grid as demand for electricity rises with the advent of Iraq's broiling summer heat.

Chant along with me: "...hearts and minds.....hearts and minds.."


Hannity and Colmes-A worthless show

Hannity and Colmes-
A worthless show

Look at this conversation with guest Ted Rall. Lots of false morality, ugly hubris, desperate and defensive argument...nothing but meaningless tripe from all sides. It's nothing but pablum for the politically retarded. This is what's killing civility in America. I think Alan Colmes is the biggest puke of all, perhaps, for his line of questioning and sickeningly fake moral-posturing from the get-go. It set the tone for censoring Mr. Rall before he was allowed to utter one word.

These two a**wipes will remain on the air as long as their hateful, politically-slow audience chooses to swim and drown in their dribbling infantile-emotion-level pool of drool.

Poor, poor America.

Joel Mowbray: State Dept- Hating Weasel

Joel Mowbray:
State Department-Hating Weasel

When a writer is on a one-trick-pony crusade against the State Department.. and when he goes as wacko-far as accusing a major mainstream news publication of being "controlled" by the State Department.....and when his paranoid complaint is featured in a right-wing-leaning Washington newspaper...and when he'd defend a Neocon and a deceitful embezzling crook over good men and women within his own government....and when the writer has been a guest on Pat Robertson's ("nuke Foggy Bottom") show more than at the credible political media outlets...

...he might be nothing more than a State-Department-hating weasel.

*..and his credibility is going down the toilet along with the chickenhawks he defends...and he knows it. Smearing General Zinni hasn't helped Mowbray to look pro-American..*


Iyad Illawi helped CIA; Conducted bombing campaigns which killed kids

Iyad Illawi helped CIA; Conducted bombing campaigns which killed kids

Iraq's newly appointed Prime Minister Iyad Allawi apparently has blood on his hands..schoolchildren included. Please explain to is bombing a crowded movie theater NOT acting as a terrorist? Would YOU want a leader who'd killed schoolchildren? What if you knew he wasn't even ashamed of his terrorist actions? It's pretty disgusting to think he's acting Prme Minister in Iraq right now. Our CIA was in on these bombings and sabotage beside Allawi in the early 90s. When Allawi was picked as interim prime minister, he said his first priority would be 'to improve the security situation by stopping bombings and other insurgent attacks in Iraq' idea several former officials familiar with his past said they found "ironic."

Why can't we ever choose someone "clean"? Conscientious? Decent? Moral? I think it's because we don't WANT a 'nice guy' to lead Iraqis to "freedom". Apparently ,we prefer the fellows with barbaric tendencies. Wasn't Saddam a barbarian, too? We're settling for a nicer barbarian, already?

*WE didn't choose him, you say?
B.S. we didn't!*


Update June 11, 2004:
Sunni preacher Shaikh Ahmad al-Samarra'i accused Prime Minister Iyad Allawi of being an American agent in his sermon on Friday. He addressed Allawi from the pulpit, saying, "Have all noble persons disappeared, that you have come and sought assistance from foreigners?"

Ken Burns Addresses Yale

Ken Burns Addresses Yale

"...there is nothing more incredible than being a witness to history."

Because filmmaker Ken Burns has been a chief inspiration to me in creating this blog, I wish to share some of his advice to graduating Yale students in his May 23rd commencement speech:

So what do we make of all this? Let me speak directly to the graduating class.

(Watch out, here comes the advice.)

As you pursue your goals in life, that is to say your future, pursue your past. Let it be your guide. Insist on having a past and then you will have a future.

Do not descend too deeply into specialism in your work. Educate all your parts. You will be healthier. Replace cynicism with its old-fashioned antidote, skepticism.

Don't confuse success with excellence. The poet Robert Penn Warren, who taught here at Yale for many years, once told me that "careerism is death."

Travel. Do not get stuck in one place. Visit Yellowstone or Yosemite or Appomattox, where our country really came together. Whatever you do, walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. Listen to jazz music, the only art form Americans have ever invented, and a painless way, Wynton Marsalis reminds us, “of understanding ourselves.”

Give up addictions. Try brushing your teeth tonight with the other hand. Try even remembering what I just asked you.

Insist on heroes. And be one.

Read. The book is still the greatest manmade machine of all -- not the car, not the TV, not the computer, I promise.

Write: write letters. Keep journals. Besides your children, there is no surer way of achieving immortality. Remember, too, there is nothing more incredible than being a witness to history.

Serve your country. Insist that we fight the right wars. Convince your government that the real threat comes from within, as Lincoln said. Governments always forget that. Do not let your government outsource honesty, transparency, or candor. Do not let your government outsource democracy. Steel yourselves. Steel yourselves. Your generation will have to repair this damage. And it will not be easy.

Insist that we support science and the arts, especially the arts. They have nothing to do with the actual defense of our country -- they just make our country worth defending.

Do only, as Emerson suggests, whatever “inly rejoices.” Do not lose your enthusiasm. In its Greek etymology, the word enthusiasm means, “God in us.” Remember, most of all, that only love multiplies.

Mr. Burns also offered inspirational, educated, and critical (yet necessary) comments about the civil state of America today. It would behoove all of us..beginning with our heed Ken Burns' sage advice:

The great jurist Learned Hand (and could there be a better name for a judge than Learned Hand?) once said that, “Liberty is never being too sure you're right.” Somehow, recently though, we have replaced our usual and healthy doubt with an arrogance and belligerence that resembles more the ancient and now fallen empires of our history books than a modern compassionate democracy; begun to start wars instead of finishing them; begun to depend on censorship and intimidation and to infringe on the most basic liberties that have heroically defined and described our trajectory as a nation of free people; begun to reduce the complexity of modern life into facile judgments of good and evil, and now find ourselves brought up short when we see that we have, too, sometimes, in moments, become what we despise.

It is easy, I am sure, during these times of international upheaval and titanic change everywhere, to, like an ostrich, retreat inward, to retire to our spiritually as well as physically gated communities, to smugly convince ourselves that we in this country have somehow triumphantly made it through, that our destiny as a people, a society, a nation is now assured. That, like some perpetual motion machine, we will go on forever.

Nothing could be more dangerous than this arrogant belief, brought on and amplified as it is by a complete lack of historical awareness among us, and further reinforced by a modern media, cloaked in democratic slogans, but dedicated to the most stultifying kind of consumer existence, convincing us to worship gods of commerce and money and selfish advancement above all else.

“There are grave doubts at the hugeness of the land,” Henry Adams wrote, “and whether one government can comprehend the whole.” It is a perfect quote, accurately conveying the anxiety of Americans in the middle of the 19th Century who feared that this collection of former colonies could ever expand to continental status, could ever deal as one nation with the sectional discord that threatened civil war, could, as Adams put it so well, “comprehend the whole.”

Civil war did come, yet the phrase “the United States are,” as we referred to ourselves plurally before the war, paradoxically morphed after the war into a singular “the United States is” that we still, ungrammatically, refer to today.

But, alas, today we find ourselves in the midst of a new, subtler, perhaps more dangerous, civil war. The first one proved, above all, that a minority view could not secede politically or geographically from this union.

Now we are poised to fight that war again, and perhaps again and again, this time culturally, where the threat is fundamentalism wherever it raises its intolerant head. The casualties this time will be our sense of common heritage, our sense of humor, our sense of balance and cohesion. The ultimate stakes, though, are just as great as those Abraham Lincoln faced--the Union and very survival of our country.

What we are seeing is a secession of ideas and identification from the mainstream. In the name of the truth, we have created an infinite number of different truths, all pulling in different directions, all oblivious to the old or even a new conception of the whole. The historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. said that we suffer today from "too much pluribus and not enough unum."

Our first Civil War started, as the writer Shelby Foote says, because we failed to do what we Americans do best: compromise. "We like to think of ourselves as uncompromising people," he said, "but our genius is for compromise and when that broke down, we started killing each other." The lesson for us, today, is tolerance and the mitigating wisdom that sees beyond the dialectical preoccupation that has set each individual, each group, each region of the country, against the whole.

So, I ask those of you graduating tomorrow, male or female, black or white or brown or yellow, young or old, straight or gay, to become soldiers in a new Union Army, an army dedicated to the preservation of this country's great ideals, a vanguard against this new separatism and disunion, a vanguard against those who, in the name of our great democracy, have managed to diminish it.

This is a family problem. Our problem. Not a red state or a blue state problem.

Our problem.

I'm not sure if my readers have seen the AP article that followed Mr. Burns' speech:

Filmmaker Ken Burns Criticizes Bush at Yale as President Arrives for Daughter's Party
By Diane Scarponi--Associated Press, 05/23/04

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- With presidential security helicopters circling over the Yale University campus, filmmaker Ken Burns denounced the war in Iraq on Sunday and told graduating seniors to remember history as they work to repair divides in American culture.

President Bush came to the campus for a private reception with his daughter, Barbara, who graduates from Yale on Monday. Bush did not hold any public events, and Barbara skipped Sunday's baccalaureate services and the day-before-graduation senior Class Day festivities where Burns spoke.

While Bush was not in public view, his presidency was a hot topic of rhetoric at Class Day.

Without mentioning Bush by name, Burns drew parallels between today's political leaders and the Iraq war, versus Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, which he chronicled in an award-winning film series.

Both wars threatened to tear the country apart, Burns said.

"Steel yourselves. Your generation must repair this damage, and it will not be easy," Burns told the seniors.

Burns quoted famed jurist Learned Hand as saying, "Liberty is never being too sure you're right."

"Somehow recently, though, we have replaced our usual and healthy doubt with an arrogance and belligerence that resembles more the ancient and now fallen empires of our history books than a modern compassionate democracy," Burns said, to applause from the 1,300 graduates and their families and friends.

He criticized what he called a culture of censorship and intimidation that was intolerant of others, as well as a compliant media and a consumer culture that values the pursuit of money above everything.

"We have begun to reduce the complexities of modern life into the facile judgments of good and evil, and now find ourselves brought up short when we see that we have, too, some times and moments, become what we despise," Burns said.

Burns noted that it is tempting in such times to turn inward and ignore outside troubles, but he urged the seniors to reject that impulse and study history as a way to cope with these troubles and to figure out what to do about them.

"If you don't know where you've been, how can you possibly know who you are and where you're going?" Burns asked.

(see link for more)


Congratulations to Mr. Burns daughter, Sarah, who was one of the graduating students at Yale.

Unlike Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush Chooses to Remain in Dark Ages

Unlike Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush Chooses to Remain in Dark Ages

The dismal fact is: She's locking all of us in with her.

I consider this to be the saddest affront to the memory of President Ronald W. Reagan...
perpetrated by the current President who wishes to leech onto Reagan's legacy.

In essence, Laura Bush is saying: "I lost my father to this debilitating illness with no cure, now you and all Americans must suffer the same fate.. Oh, but I will admire you for slaving over your loved one as you watch them suffer and wither hopelessly before your eyes."



Bush Administration Has Waffled Terribly on Peacekeeping

Bush Administration Has Waffled Terribly on Peacekeeping

"I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation-building...I think what we need to do is convince people who live in the lands they live in to build the nations. Maybe I'm missing something here. I mean, we're going to have a kind of nation-building corps from America? Absolutely not."

--GW Bush, Presidential debate, Oct. 11, 2000, in Winston-Salem, N.C.

What we've witnessed with the Bush administration is "peace on the cheap"...because peace was not properly valued.

Before the Iraq war, the Peacekeeping Institute at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., was "just one more vestige of the Clinton years that Donald Rumsfeld intended to consign to the dustbin of history"*.

This administration has learned important lessons far too late. While trying to be ahead of times, they endangered our chances for success in Iraq. They endangered the lives of our troops. We need to toss them out on their incompetent rears in November.


Published April 15, 2003

Army institute to be shut down
Critics hit loss of training center for peacekeeping
Rumsfeld supports closing

By Douglas Holt
Tribune staff reporter



Published July 8, 2003

Peacekeeping Institute to Stay Open



Published September, 2003

Peacekeeping revisited, again
The ‘p’ word gets another look

By Michael Moran
Senior correspondent MSNBC



Published November, 2003

Iraq provides Peacekeeping Institute with needed boost save money and get more active duty officers serving with troops in the field, the Army announced in January that the Peacekeeping Institute would shut down -- despite ongoing U.S. peacekeeping operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan and, at the time, a looming war in Iraq.

"The war college was told it had to cut 64 slots, and our 10 were among them," said Col. Michael Dooley

Critics figured that the decision had more to do with the distaste for U.S. "nation-building" frequently expressed by President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

The institute also has a new name, to reflect its broadened mission. It now is known as the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute


Published: Jun 9, 2004

United States Pushes G-8 Plan to Train 50,000 Peacekeepers for Africa, Elsewhere

By John Leicester Associated Press Writer



Published June 9, 2004

Rumsfeld expresses interest in a new regional peacekeeping training institute styled as Bangladesh Institute of Peacekeeping Support Operations Training

Staff Writer
Daily Star


Political Compass

Take This Test!

Political Compass

The social dimension of politics is important. That's the dimension that the mere left-right scale doesn't adequately address. So Political Compass has added one, ranging in positions from extreme authoritarian to extreme libertarian.

My result was here:

Close to this fellow:

NOTE: Don't spoil the results by reading the Analysis section before you take the test.