Monday, September 03, 2007

We Can't Make It Here Anymore: Labor Day Edition

The mood of the country this Labor Day seems ripe for a little James McMurtry. A house of cards collapsing in on itself because of crooked deals and unpayable debt. "Free" trade robber barons piling up their tax-free bloat. Criminals in the board rooms and government and K Street. We're entrenched in one corporate quagmire war, while another threatens as Bush plots ways to attack Iran. Oh, and here's what our Democratic "leaders" are saying about continuing funding for Iraq. Happy Labor Day 2007. Think I'll head to the mountains, for some grounding.

September 3, 2007 at 08:59 AM in Civil Liberties, Corporatism, Crime, Economy, Populism, Impeachment, Iran, Iraq War, Labor, Music, Peace, Veterans, Visuals | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quagmire: Let's Keep It Going Another 10 Years

... and toss in an attack on Iran. Deja vu all over again. See Democracy Now for another view. Sen. John Kerry issued a statement in response to Bush's speech yesterday before the VFW:

“Invoking the tragedy of Vietnam to defend the failed policy in Iraq is as irresponsible as it is ignorant of the realities of both of those wars,” Senator Kerry said. “Half of the soldiers whose names are on the Vietnam Memorial Wall died after the politicians knew our strategy would not work. The lesson is to change the strategy not just to change the rhetoric. We want democracy in Iraq, but Iraqis must want it as much as we do. Our brave soldiers can’t bring democracy to Iraq if Iraq’s leaders are unable or unwilling themselves to make the compromises that democracy requires. No American soldier should be sacrificed because Iraqi politicians refuse to resolve their sectarian and political differences.

“It is unfortunate that President Bush would want to invoke a false comparison of Vietnam to Iraq, but not surprising that he would oversimplify the differences and overlook the tragic similarities. As in Vietnam, we engaged militarily in Iraq based on official deception. As in Vietnam, more American soldiers are being sent to fight and die in a civil war we can’t stop and an insurgency we can’t bomb into submission. If the President wants to heed the lessons of Vietnam, he should change course and change course now.”

Remember that Kerry served honorably and bravely in Vietnam, and worked hard with other Vietnam vets to end the war after returning hoime. Decades later, we have Bush the drunken AWOL Air National Guard cokehead pretending to know what happened there and why. To me, the words "hypocrite" and "ignoramous" don't even begin to convey the depraved nature of Bush in using self-serving, distorted, revisionist history to defend his unyielding push for unending war. Obviously, there's no limit to how low he'll go to perpetrate the myths and bald-faced lies he employs to justify his madness.

August 23, 2007 at 12:48 PM in Iran, Iraq War | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Dem Senators Vote Unanimously for Iran War Run-Up Amendment

Yes, you read that right. And not only did all the Dem Senators vote for it -- EVERY SENATOR voted for it. What's the amendment in question that was tacked onto the Defense Authorization Act? Chris Floyd over at Empire Burlesque has the story:

[On Wednesday] the U.S. Senate unanimously declared that Iran was committing acts of war against the United States: a 97-0 vote to give George W. Bush a clear and unmistakable casus belli for attacking Iran whenever Dick Cheney tells him to.

The bipartisan Senate resolution – the brainchild (or rather the bilechild) of Fightin' Joe Lieberman – affirmed as official fact all of the specious, unproven, ever-changing allegations of direct Iranian involvement in attacks on the American forces now occupying Iraq. The Senators appear to have relied heavily on the recent that stovepiped unchallenged Pentagon spin directly onto the paper's front page. As Firedoglake points out, John McCain cited the heavily criticized story on the Senate floor as he cast his vote. [Senators Levin (D-MI) and Salazar (D-CO) were added as cosponsors.]

It goes without saying that all of this is a nightmarish replay of the run-up to the war of aggression against Iraq: The NYT funneling false flag stories from Bush insiders. Warmongers citing the NYT stories as "proof" justifying any and all action to "defend the Homeland." Credulous and craven Democratic politicians swallowing the Bush line hook and sinker.

... Of course, the United States is already at war with Iran. We are directing covert ops and terrorist attacks inside Iran, with the help of groups that our own government has declared terrorist renegades. We are kidnapping Iranian officials in Iraq and holding them hostage. We have a bristling naval armada on Iran's doorstep, put there for the express purpose of threatening Tehran with military action. The U.S. Congress has overwhelmingly passed measures calling for the overthrow of the Iranian government. And now the U.S. Senate has unanimously declared that Iran is waging war on America, and has given official notice that this will not be tolerated. It is only a very small step to move from this war in all but name to the full monty of an overt military assault.

IrannextDemocrats like our Senate leader Dick Durbin insist their vote for this amendment doesn't provide King George with permission to, you know, start another war of choice whenever he feels like it. After all, George has been so profoundly dedicated to telling the truth, following the Constitution and honoring the separation of powers that you'd have to be crazy to doubt him. Why not go ahead and continue trying to appear as "strong" as Bush by embracing war drumming and "national defense" madness? Election time is coming and the swing voters will demand it, even if the polls say otherwise!

Oops, there is the tiny matter of Bush's already having issued one of his royal edicts on July 10th to the feckless Carl Levin to inform the supine Congress he won't pay any attention to their Constitutionally derived powers, whether they pertain to Iraq or now Iran:

[The letter] says the White House will veto any Congressional effort to either "direct or prohibit" any military, intelligence or diplomatic action regarding Iran.

So what does Levin do in response? Cosponsor Lieberman's bogus Iran amendment laying out how war with Iran is justified. Now that's some Democratic backbone.

Notice that no edicts or amendments are circulating to threaten Saudi Arabia even though it's been determined that the majority of the small numbers of foreign fighters in Iraq are from that country, not Iran, not Syria, not Jordan.

One has to figure that either Levin and the others who voted for Lieberman's warmongering amendment have been programmed by cosmic rays to suddenly trust Bush to use the amendment to achieve peace, not war, or that they support attacking Iran. What other options are there?

July 16, 2007 at 12:08 PM in Democratic Party, Iran, Middle East | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

What's Goin' On While Congress and The Commander Do the Politico Shuffle

We'll never see this on anything to do with the American mainstream media. Good thing, since so many of our dishonorable, dishonest, cold-blooded politicos think it's just fine to wait until September to get out of Iraq, or maybe next year, or perhaps 2009, or even decades down the road. Or is it widening and eternal war that's on our horizon? We wouldn't want the media to show the American people what's really happening on the ground in Iraq. They'd be even madder than they are today. Not that it matters much to those in power and those who allow them to stay in power.

What we've got is one political party full of pseudo-power and oil addicts and another political party too full of enablers and go-alongs. I mean, they don't even make adjustments in response to poll results anymore, except maybe in terms of their half-hearted rhetoric. Most of our political "leaders" and "representatives" seem to be residing in a bubble, apart from the passions of the people and the suffering they are prolonging. Lip service is the order of the day.

But then, you all know that. What needs to be found is some way to stop them on their unrelenting descent into unconstitutional and unconscionable madness in almost every area of endeavor, from foreign policy to health care to the environement to the economy and beyond. So much is broken, but widespread denial brings only paralysis and business as usual attitudes. Out here, we're sensing and often experiencing real emergencies and a profound sense of foreboding. But inside the privileged status quo it's still the same as it ever was -- sloganeering and posturing seems enough. When will the bubble break? And what will happen then? So much depends on us, yet many of us have rarely felt so helpless. And time is running out. What can we do?

July 15, 2007 at 11:48 AM in Candidates & Races, Current Affairs, Democratic Party, Iran, Iraq War | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Free Screening of 'War Made Easy' Set for July at CNM


Stop the War Machine will hold a premier showing of Norman Solomon's new film WAR MADE EASY: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, narrated by Sean Penn and based on Solomon's best selling book by the same name. The new film was featured on Democracy Now (read or stream the DN interview on May 29, 2007).

The film will be shown Monday, July 9, 2007 at 7:00 PM at Smith-Brasher Hall on the campus of Central New Mexico Community College. Parking is in the  large lot to the southwest of the intersection of University and Coal SE in Albuquerque. Admission is free.

Organizations wishing to put up information tables should contact

According to the film's website:

War Made Easy brings to the screen Norman Solomon's insightful analysis of the strategies used by administrations, both Democratic and Republican, to promote their agendas for war from Vietnam to Iraq. By familiarizing viewers with the techniques of war propaganda, War Made Easy encourages us to think critically about the messages put out by today's spin doctors - messages which are designed to promote and prolong a policy of militarism under the guise of the "war on terror."

Congress and the Bush Administration are currently debating the next steps in the war in Iraq, and the country is poised for a war with Iran. Now is the time for citizens to engage with one another around issues of military spending, U.S. occupation of foreign countries, war propaganda, and more. The documentary film War Made Easy educates viewers about how administrations lead us into war and inspires necessary debate and discussion about the role that citizens can play in preventing the next war.

June 16, 2007 at 02:24 PM in Film, Iran, Iraq War | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Richard Becker to Speak on Iraq, Iran in Santa Fe & ABQ

From Stop the War Machine: Richard Becker will speak on "What Does It Take to Get Out of Iraq (and Not Go Into Iran)," on Sunday, June 3, from 7 to 10 PM at Smith Brasher Hall, on the campus of Central New Mexico Community College. The hall is in the big building to the SW at the corner of University Blvd and Coal SE in Albuquerque. Click for flyer (pdf).

Becker will also speak on the topic on Saturday, June 2, at 6 PM at the Unitarian Church, 107 West Barcelona Road, just off Galisteo near Cordova, in Santa Fe. This free event is sponsored by Mother Media ( or 982-3609).

Richard Becker is the Western Regional Coordinator of the International ANSWER-Act Now to Stop War and End Racism-Coalition. ANSWER. has organized numerous mass protests of hundreds of thousands of people against the war in Iraq, from mid-2002 to the present. Becker has been a central organizer of, and featured speaker at, many of the West Coast mass mobilizations in San Francisco and Los Angeles.  In December 2005, Becker traveled to Damascus, Syria to participate in a conference on Palestinian Refugees and the Right of Return. One of the few US activists to visit Syria in recent years, Becker has spoken out in opposition to the US-led campaign for regime change in that country at numerous public forums and media events. (Email contact:

June 1, 2007 at 10:40 AM in Iran, Iraq War | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Edwards Rejects "War on Terror" Frame

John Edwards gave a major policy speech on foreign relations today in New York. Although, like every Democratic presidential candidate except Kucinich, he advocates increased military spending -- he does come out strongly against Bush's politically useful and calculated framing of a "global war on terror." Like the damaging and deceptive "war on drugs," this construct does nothing to solve the real problems afoot in our world, but works quite well as a fear-making slogan. Click to read an outline of Edwards' remarks or a complete text of his speech. Excerpt:

Moving Beyond the "War on Terror"
“The core of this presidency has been a political doctrine that George Bush calls the ‘Global War on Terror.’ He has used this doctrine like a sledgehammer to justify the worst abuses and biggest mistakes of his administration, from Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, to the war in Iraq. The worst thing about the Global War on Terror approach is that it has backfired—our military has been strained to the breaking point and the threat from terrorism has grown.”

“We need a post-Bush, post-9/11, post-Iraq American military that is mission-focused on protecting Americans from 21st century threats, not misused for discredited ideological pursuits. We need to recognize that we have far more powerful weapons available to us than just bombs, and we need to bring them to bear. We need to reengage the world with the full weight of our moral leadership.”

“What we need is not more slogans but a comprehensive strategy to deal with the complex challenge of both delivering justice and being just. Not hard power. Not soft power. Smart power.”

Wouldn't it be refreshing -- and effective -- if we started approaching problems as complex situations that require wise and nuanced long-term strategies instead of labeling each as another "war" on something? To me, what these "war on whatever" assaults do is create more chaos, fear and hysteria so that huge sums of money can be pumped into the hands of special interests. Oh, the DEA and Halliburton and arms merchants love all the "wars on whatever." Then again, they don't have to keep paying for them for generations as the real causes of the problems are left to fester. What a merry-go-round for well connected war profiteers and corporatists.

May 23, 2007 at 05:53 PM in 2008 Presidential Primary, Iran, Iraq War, Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Three Scariest Things I Read Today

First off, two blood curdling posts on Iran in two days by Chris Floyd at Empire Burlesque. They're long, but I think they're essential reading at this moment in time:

I hadn't discovered Floyd until one of my favorite blogs, , provided the pointer. I'll certainly be reading Empire Burlesque regularly from now on though. Excerpt:

The cowardice of the Democrats is one possible reason why the Bushists’ lies are growing more open, more cynical. (And let us not lay the flattering unction to ourselves that this is because the Bush Faction is getting more desperate. It would be very nice to think so, but as noted above, they already know nothing bad is going to happen to them personally; so what would they be desperate about?) But there is one other possible reason for their brazenness: because they know that something is brewing, something is coming that will wipe away the memory of their present lies — or else make it more dangerous to point them out. Juan Cole detects some tantalizing hints in the notable absence of many of Iraq’s main political players from the scene: Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the most powerful Shiite party, has left Iraq, going first to the United States and now to Iran for cancer treatment. Mahdi Army leader Moqtada al-Sadr is still in hiding. And now Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, is going to a fat farm in the United States for three weeks to try to lose some weight. That’s right; Iraq’s head of state has left his nation in the midst of a life-and-death struggle in order to drop a few pounds in a pricey Stateside resort. […]

How soon then before we find out at last how transparent these lies have been as well? Is this the big thing brewing, a strike on Iran, a new and even more horrible war certain to provoke even more horrible responses, even on American soil — thus solidifying the tyranny of the Bush Faction, sweeping away all the “petty carping” about the law and the Constitution as the Leader does “whatever it takes” to keep us safe? [Just by the by, Bush giving himself the sole power to constitute the entire federal government in the event of a broad range of “national emergencies.”]As Cole noted in his piece on Talabani, these are just speculations. But consider: every single lie told by the Bush Faction has masked a reality more sinister than most American citizens could have imagined. “Compassionate conservatism” really was a cynical scam for ruthless corporate predation, callous disregard and a savage, ideological assault on the very notion of a “common good” — all exemplified in the Katrina disaster.

The Bushists really did lie about “weapons of mass destruction” and al Qaeda ties in order to launch a war of aggression against Iraq. Bush really did lie, knowingly and repeatedly and publicly, about the mass surveillance he is conducting upon the American people, as Greenwald has shown so clearly.

Thus we are fully justified in asking this question: What sinister reality lies in wait behind the relentless barrage of lies about Iran? The answer to that question seems transparently clear — and unfathomably evil.

Now add this morsel to deepen your sense of impending doom. From Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran at ABC News:

The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a "nonlethal presidential finding" that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.

Backed against the wall on Iraq, it's totally in character for Bush et al. to reach for more chaos, not less. Fear, lies, unilateral provocation, constant widening war -- the trademarks of this blood-lusting bunch. Who can or will stop them?

May 23, 2007 at 08:00 AM in Iran | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Col. Ann Wright to Discuss Iraq Now - Iran Later?

A Presentation by COLONEL ANN WRIGHT
Army Colonel (Ret.), Foreign Diplomat

Sunday, April 22, 7 to 9 PM
Albuquerque Mennonite Church
1300 Girard N.E. (2 blocks north of Constitution)
Albuquerque NM
Suggested $10 donation at the door

Colonel Ann Wright served 29 years in the Army and then later worked in the State Department. In 2003, she resigned from her State Department post due to her disagreement with the decision to go to war on Iraq without U.N. Security Council authorization.

"I have served my country for almost thirty years in some of the most isolated and dangerous parts of the world. I want to continue to serve America. However, I do not believe in the policies of this Administration and cannot --morally and professionally -- defend or implement them. It is with heavy heart that I must end my service to America and therefore resign."

Sponsored by the School of the Americas Watch - New Mexico. For more information, contact Judy Bierbaum at 268-1040.

Editor's Note: Click to read Col. Wright's resignation letter to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wright was most recently the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She helped open the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, in January 2002.

April 4, 2007 at 12:30 PM in Events, Iran, Iraq War | Permalink | Comments (4)