Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Troop Memorials Deliberately Destroyed

Troop Memorials Deliberately Destroyed
Hatred and Anger Visits Mother of Fallen Soldier in Crawford

The hypocrisy of those who say they support the troops
Courtesy of Rising Hegemon

You know what? This is how the bitter hatespeak of influential people like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh and SC Senator Jim DeMint (who called mothers of fallen soldiers "the enemy") is translated to the physical world. Congratulations. Larry Northern is your new poster boy. I think you've gone too far.

That flag lying on the ground is today's perfect representation of the state of civic unity and the spirit of one America.



Dick Cheney criticized John Kerry's comment about the need to fight a sensitive war last year, saying
"A 'sensitive war' will not destroy the evil men who killed 3,000 Americans and who seek the chemical, nuclear and biological weapons to kill hundreds of thousands more."
Neither has the Iraq war, obviously.

Cheney's not a "feelings" kind of guy - but top military commanders "in the know" are surely finding their way through feeling. So it turns out that John Kerry was right after all.


General McCaffrey worries that the Pentagon's plan to equip Iraqi forces won't give them enough punch to survive on their own in the long term. He estimated in a postvisit report to Congress that the Iraqi Army needed 120 Black Hawk helicopters, 2,000 armored humvees and 2,000 M113 armored personnel carriers to be effective without U.S. support. "If we want to get out of there we have to make that kind of commitment," Gen. McCaffrey says.
Ouch! Talk about sensitive. Wait until taxpayers get the bill for those babies.

WaPo News Guild Won't walk Freedom Walk

WaPo News Guild Won't walk Freedom Walk

Do Washington Post staffers still wish to be seen as reporters who believe and base their reporting on the spirit of neutrality? Will they allow themselves to be seen, throug their paymaster, as willing supportive participants in the lockstep marching of one divisive camp?

Some will not stand for having their professional credibility put on the line for what is being called "Freedom Walk."

Editor and Publisher is reporting that "Newspaper Guild leaders at The Washington Post on Monday afternoon called on the newspaper to withdraw its sponsorship of a controversial Sept. 11 memorial walk organized by the Department of Defense. The event has drawn opposition from several groups for its alleged pro-war tilt."

They have serious concerns about "lending their support to a political event that links the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to the war in Iraq -- a link that The Post, in its reporting, has shown to be false."

Howard Kurtz noted his opposition to the Post sponsorship in an online chat with readers today.

I expect that Right bloggers will call them "liberal" media, when in truth, they are trying to be "neutral media". There's a world of difference between the meaning that lies between those two labels.

Tar Heel Tavern 25

Tar Heel Tavern 25

The Tarheel Tavern opens it's doors for the 25th Edition: "Flights of Fancy".
Mandie's done a beautiful job of displaying this week's links.

Nonny's "Converge South - The Movie" is a name-dropping flight of fancy you don't want to miss!
Of course, the cream of the blogosphere were in attendance, including Hoder, Jay Rosen, Dan Gillmor, Sybril Bennett, Nancy McLaughlin, David Hoggard, John Robinson, Lex Alexander, Ruby Sinreich, Ed Cone, Michael Moran, Christie Seals, Allison Perkins, John Teleha, Ted Vaden, DeWayne Wickham, Jeff Jarvis, Phil Meyer, Bob Steele, Francisco Camara, George Curry, Kevin Sites, Duncan Black (Atrios), Amanda Congdon, Dave Winer, Sandy Carmany, Tiffany Brown, Herb Everett, Roch Smith, Jr., Ruby Sinreich, Michael Bowen, Jimmy Wales, Sue Polinsky, Iddybud, Seth Godin, Dave Taylor, BL Ochman, Tris Hussey, Toby Bloomberg, Andy Wibbels, Denise Wakeman, Steve Rubel, Rick Bruner, Wayne Hurlbert, John Jantsch, Neville Hobson, Biz Stone, Eric Alterman, Stowe Boyd, Henry Copeland, Wil Wheaton, Wiley Wiggins, Cory Doctorow, Arianna Huffington, Al Franken, Lawrence Lessig, Doc Searls, David Corn, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, James Wolcott, Juan Cole, Matthew Yglesias, Andrew Sullivan, Evan Williams, and God herself!
The movie poster's fun - I'm just under the "H".

CAFTA and Future Wars?

CAFTA and Future Wars?

Will we soon turn away from the Middle East and focus our foreign policy sights on Central America? What does CAFTA(which was narrowly passed in the House on July 28th after vote buying and arm twisting) mean for America's economy, security and future? President Bush has expressed concern that growing anti-American sentiment in Latin America is flourishing and could lead to terror. He used that scare tactic to try to convince the House to pass the bill.

Did you know that four of the six countries who will benefit from CAFTA — the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua — have assisted the U.S. military effort in Iraq? Payback?

Costa Rica was holding out because of mounting opposition by trade unions, some farm groups and even some business leaders who say CAFTA's intellectual-property clauses are too invasive. Costa Ricans worry that CAFTA may lead to the privatization of the country's free universal health-care system, which puts the poor country on par with industrialized nations in many important health indexes. Just 38% of Costa Ricans polled in February who had heard of the deal thought it would benefit their country. They are being strong-armed into CAFTA by warnings that US Congress would eventually cut off existing trade preferences if their legislature didn't approve CAFTA. [WSJ]

Could CAFTA destabilize Central American democracies and cause internal struggles (and while we say we promote democracy across the globe - will our troops be used?)

A Gallup poll says that 65% of Guatemalans believe CAFTA will hurt their country.

The Guatemalan government’s response to the massive opposition to CAFTA has been to criminalize protest, utilizing the army and police forces to disperse crowds and intimidate social movement and human rights groups. Not exactly democratic.

Yet, President Bush said this on August 3rd (hear the hypocrisy) :
"CAFTA was more than a trade bill; CAFTA was a statement about democracy in our own neighborhood. We entered into a pact, a long-term pact with new democracies, countries that not all that long ago were wrestling with civil strife and dictatorships. These young democracies turned to America, and said, we want to be allied with you through an economic trade pact. And by passing that bill, the United States of America made a clear statement to those young democracies that we stand with you; we will help you develop free markets and free societies; we will help you stand as you struggle to build your democracy."
I am not sure I like the sound of that "we will stand with you" part, knowing how loose and fast Bush tends to play with our military.

Spreading democracy? In last Sunday's WaPo talks about the eye-opening reality behind the Bush-slogan spin:
"...lawmakers who voted to pass CAFTA in late July may not have realized that a part of the trade agreement threatens to do just the opposite. That's because of a little-understood legal clause included in CAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and other, already existing bilateral investment treaties. Designed to protect foreign investors against unfair treatment by a signatory state, these "investor-state arbitration" provisions actually hand foreign businesses powerful rights that trump the interests or desires of local citizens."
This seems more like a clamp-down on freedom of citizens to me - how about you?

"“This is a magic moment!”
an effusive Donald Rumsfeld declared in Guatemala last March when he was expressing Bush's desire to bestow once-frozen military aid upon their country.
Can the United States support armies in their new role that is more focused on internal security rather than defense? I believe this is the spirit of Rumsfeld’s visit to Guatemala.”
This curious quote came from Guatemalan Defense Minister Carlos Aldana, in an interview with the Guatemalan daily El Periodico.


Do you recall the Chapter 11 provision of NAFTA which opens up great financial liability and risk on the part of national governments who subscribe (including our own)? [Bill Moyers has the best explanation] According to the WaPo, CAFTA has the same provision. In a nutshell, this is a democray-snuffer:
"How can a multinational corporation that objects to local environmental, health or safety regulations sue a national government? That license is provided under NAFTA. Once CAFTA is signed, it will provide the same right. In each case, a provision of the agreement allows a foreign corporation to sue a national government for money damages if it believes that the actions of the federal, state or local government in a given country are discriminatory, violate international law or can be considered -- directly or indirectly -- an expropriation of the company's investment. If complying with an environmental regulation makes a project no longer worth the cost, a company can claim that its investment has been expropriated by the state."
In other words, one investor in a foreign company can sue the United States because of an environmental protection law in California - and legally grab YOUR tax dollars while he - a foreigner - is directly attacking your American democracy.

Welcome to the new world order.

"It's Over"

"It's Over"

I think perhaps President Bush is most upset with Cindy Sheehan because she came along at exactly the wrong moment as far as he was concerned, and he knows what she is saying is right. It's just that I think that he wanted to be the one to say he was bringing the troops home, and he didn't want the public to think he was getting all "girlie-man" and doing it for a woman who's getting so much support from those darned "focus groups". (Like the big focus group with its league of millions who marched around the world on February 15, 2003, begging for him not to begin this war.) Cindy is stealing his thunder - maybe even stealing his opportunity to come up with the perfectly-concocted political rationale for bringing them home. I read this today, and in the simplest of terms, it gives you a snapshot of political reality:

It's over.

For the U.S. to win the Iraq war requires three things:

- defeating the Iraqi resistance;
- establishing a stable government in Iraq that is friendly to the U.S.;
- maintaining the support of the American people while the first two are being done.

None of these three seem any longer possible. First, the U.S. military itself no longer believes it can defeat the resistance.
Secondly, the likelihood that the Iraqi politicians can agree on a constitution is almost nil, and therefore the likelihood of a minimally stable central government is almost nil.
Thirdly, the U.S. public is turning against the war because it sees no "light at the end of the tunnel."

As a result, the Bush regime is in an impossible position. It would like to withdraw in a dignified manner, asserting some semblance of victory. But, if it tries to do this, it will face ferocious anger and deception on the part of the war party at home. And if it does not, it will face ferocious anger on the part of the withdrawal party. It will end up satisfying neither, lose face precipitously, and be remembered in ignominy.

- Yale senior research scholar Immanuel Wallerstein (PhD. Columbia University)

I think, if President Bush had been a man of different character all along - if we had been capable of trusting his administration; if it didn't seem as if he wanted to deliberately divide his American citizen-supporters from those citizens who dared to question him; if his administration hadn't tried to overtly destroy any public figure who dared to challenge them; if there'd been an earnest attempt to involve the international community rather than putting out messages encouraging citizens to distrust "old European" allies such as France and Germany; if the neocons hadn't driven the misleadings which the President employed in order to forward what we now know were false notions; if we hadn't been issued so many changing rationales for invading Iraq; if there had been a post-war plan; and if the President hadn't made this war an adjunct of his political campaign, along with FOX News; then perhaps we wouldn't be where we are today.

If I had anything to say to President Bush today, I would beg him to change his direction and strategy on this war, which really is a global struggle. We know it was never just to bring a war on terror upon a secular nation whose government had no connection to 9/11, even if Iraq had the most evil dictator in the world. There were alternative ways to depose the powerful gangster that ran Iraq. I'd ask the President to talk to America with his heart - not with those Gawd-awful slogans. They may work at the polls on election day, but they cannot cover up a disaster that every eye can see and every keen mind can analyze. We need the support of every world leader or Iraq is going to fall into civil war. You began this war, President Bush. You unleashed the terror and even dared for it to be brought on. Staying the course, as you have laid it out to us in your slogan-speak, will mean supporting Iraq throughout the entirety of its civil war. It's obvious they will not have the capacity to do it by themselves. Is that what we are going to do? Talk to us! We're all Cindy Sheehan today.

BIG Quake in Japan

BIGQuake in Japan

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit northeastern Japan Tuesday, triggering tsunamis along the country's Pacific coast, collapsing buildings, knocking out power and shaking skyscrapers in Tokyo, more than 300 kilometres away.