The Morning News

From Yahoo News THE TOP STORY

Sharif deported from Pakistan
By ZARAR KHAN, Associated Press Writer
2 minutes ago

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was deported Monday hours after he had landed in Pakistan from seven years in exile hoping to campaign against the country’s U.S.-allied military ruler, officials said.

About four hours after he arrived on a flight from London, Sharif was taken into custody and charged with corruption, but then quickly spirited to another plane and flown out of Pakistan toward Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, an intelligence official said.

An official in President Gen. Musharraf’s office confirmed Sharif was deported but did not divulge his destination.

Our most important ally in the Global War On Radical Islam (or whatever they’re calling it today).  You know, the one with THE BOMB AND Bin Laden.

The Second Story from Yahoo News

Pentagon planning base near Iraq-Iran border: report
Reuters
1 hour, 30 minutes ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Pentagon is preparing to build a military base near the Iraq-Iran border to try to curtail the flow of advanced Iranian weaponry to Shiite militants across Iraq, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday in its online edition.

Quoting Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, the Journal said the Pentagon also plans to build fortified checkpoints on major highways leading from the Iranian border to Baghdad, and install X-ray machines and explosives-detecting sensors at the only formal border crossing between the two countries.

The base will be located about four miles from the Iranian border and will be used for at least two years, according to the report. U.S. officials told the paper it is unclear whether it will be among the small number of facilities that would remain in Iraq after any future large-scale U.S. withdrawal.

Khe Sahn.  Remember when Godwin frowned on Iraq/Vietnam parallels?

From Yahoo News World

Japan PM Abe’s job at stake as parliament meets
By Linda Sieg, Reuters
46 minutes ago

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began the toughest battle of his political life in a parliament session that opened on Monday after staking his job on extending Japan’s naval mission in support of U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan.

“The military personnel who are silently doing service on the scorching Indian Ocean embody Japan’s international contribution sought by the world,” Abe said in a policy speech to parliament.

“Can we really pull out now and abandon our responsibility to the international community?”

Iraqi PM Maliki expected to go on defensive
By Waleed Ibrahim, Reuters
33 minutes ago

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will address parliament on Monday just hours before American officials deliver a vital progress report on Iraq that could influence future U.S. strategy on the war.

An official in Maliki’s office and officials at parliament said the Shi’ite prime minister would appear before lawmakers. The session opens around midday (0800 GMT), although it was unclear precisely when Maliki would speak.

Maliki is expected to defend his government’s record in the face of blistering criticism from both Iraqi and U.S. lawmakers. Some opposition Democratic legislators in the United States have even called for him to be replaced.

UN atomic agency to meet with ElBaradei urging patience
by Michael Adler, AFP
Mon Sep 10, 12:45 AM ET

VIENNA (AFP) – UN atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei will brush aside US criticism when his IAEA meets Monday and call for worried nations to wait and see if new inspections show whether Tehran seeks the bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency will be hearing an ElBaradei report backing a timetable agreed last month for Iran to answer outstanding questions over its nuclear programme.

ElBaradei has come under fire for his approach as some Western diplomats have said the timetable gives Iran the chance to stave off the threat of new UN sanctions for a few more months.

Al-Sadr overhauling his Shiite militia
By HAMZA HENDAWI and QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writers
1 hour, 27 minutes ago

BAGHDAD – Iraq’s most powerful Shiite militia leader is turning to his commanders who distinguished themselves fighting U.S. troops in 2004 to screen fighters, weed out criminals and assume key positions in an effort to build a more disciplined force, two of his key lieutenants say.

That suggests the goal of Muqtada al-Sadr’s temporary freeze of Mahdi Army activities, announced Aug. 29 following deadly Shiite-Shiite clashes in Karbala, is to bolster the militia to intimidate his Shiite rivals as the anti-American cleric pursues his political ambitions.

A stronger and more efficient Mahdi Army could embolden al-Sadr to take on the rival Badr militia, a move that could fragment and weaken the country’s majority Shiites as gunmen battle for control of Shiite towns and cities.

From Yahoo News U.S.

Britney Spears earns scorn for MTV performance
By Dean Goodman, Reuters
Sun Sep 9, 11:43 PM ET

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Britney Spears launched her highly anticipated comeback at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, drawing ridicule by dressing up as a stripper and miming her new single.

The 25-year-old singer, whose professional achievements have been overshadowed by her personal crises in recent years, performed “Gimme More” in a black sequined bikini and knee-high boots.

No longer boasting the buff body that helped drive her to international superstardom almost a decade ago, the mother of two moved sluggishly around the stage at the Palms casino, often with the support of a troupe of dancers. At one point, the camera panned to rapper 50 Cent, sitting in the audience, who looked bewildered by the action on stage.

Petraeus to argue against big Iraq troop cuts
By Susan Cornwell, Reuters
Mon Sep 10, 12:46 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a report considered crucial to U.S. strategy in the highly unpopular war in Iraq, the top U.S. commander there is expected to tell Congress on Monday that U.S. troop levels should not be cut deeply.

The assessment by Gen. David Petraeus could be a turning point in the conflict and is considered vital to any decisions by President George W. Bush on force levels as he faces demands from Democrats and some senior Republicans for U.S. troops to start leaving Iraq.

A U.S. official who asked not to be named said on Sunday that Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker will argue that a major pullout of U.S. forces would hurt progress made since troop numbers were increased by 30,000 earlier this year.

Gasoline prices rise for first time since July
Reuters
Sun Sep 9, 6:02 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The average retail price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States cost about 6.5 cents more last week, rising for the first time since early July on the back of higher crude oil prices, an industry analyst said on Sunday.

The most recent increase was due to a rise in crude oil prices ahead of this week’s OPEC meeting, but prices will likely remain steady in the coming weeks because there is still ample supply, Lundberg said.

“It is crude oil that ended the price slide at the pump and turned it upward,” Lundberg said. “The supports behind crude oil are world demand and OPEC, which is expected to retain its hard line with a no change in official output” at its September 11 meeting.

Democratic presidential hopefuls hold TV debate in Spanish
by Juan Castro Olivera, AFP
1 hour, 8 minutes ago

MIAMI (AFP) – In a dramatic sign of the fast-changing US society, the US Democratic presidential hopefuls late Sunday held a debate in Spanish that was broadcast on the main US Spanish-language television network.

Seven presidential candidates were at the historic event, including the three front runners, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, Illinois Senator Barack Obama and former South Carolina Senator John Edwards. Senator Joe Biden, who just returned from Iraq, was absent.

Moderators from the Univision network asked questions in Spanish and the candidates, wearing earpieces, heard a translation in English. The answers were given in English and translated into Spanish for viewers.

From Yahoo News Politics

Bush, officials pass buck over who ordered Iraq army disbanded
by Sig Christenson, AFP
Sun Sep 9, 5:47 PM ET

SAN ANTONIO, United States (AFP) – As General David Petraeus prepares to tell Congress that a troop surge has helped tamp down Iraq’s civil war, Washington is in buck-passing mode over who made the decision many say is at the root of the instability: disbanding the Iraqi army.

Former secretary of state Colin Powell says no one told him about it, and that then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was in the dark too.

President George W. Bush says he thought the army would be kept intact after the US-led invasion in March 2003, but concedes to having a fuzzy memory on the matter.

Bush heads home for Iraq battle
by Olivier Knox, AFP
Sun Sep 9, 1:26 AM ET

SYDNEY (AFP) – US President George W. Bush headed home Sunday after leaving an Asia-Pacific summit a day early to marshal his forces for this week’s pitched US political battle over the unpopular war in Iraq.

Bush is expected to make a formal speech to the war-weary US public to insist progress is being made and they should rally behind his strategy.

On his final day here, he seized on a new video from terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, who called for escalating the insurgency in Iraq, to argue that if the Al-Qaeda chief thinks Iraq is important, so should the US public.

US report calls for Iraq exit in five years
AFP
Sun Sep 9, 2:50 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States should halve its military presence in Iraq within three years and completely pull out within five years, the latest US report on the war-scarred country said Sunday.

Only then will Iraq’s government, which has so far been a “disappointment,” take on its own security responsibilities to rebuild the nation, the report by the United States Institute of Peace said.

“The United States faces too many challenges around the world to continue its current level of effort in Iraq, or even the deployment that was in place before the surge,” the report said.

From Yahoo News Opinion

Six years later, terror war leaves unfinished business
USAToday
Mon Sep 10, 12:22 AM ET

The release of a new Osama bin Laden videotape generated breathless analysis of everything from the color of his beard to his crackpot commentary on U.S. politics, global warming and the troubled housing market.

The true importance of the tape, however, is as a reminder of unfinished business in the war against bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terror group. As the nation prepares to mark on Tuesday the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, al-Qaeda has mounted a dismaying rebound from its post-9/11 setbacks.

Bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, remain at large and in touch with current events. Al-Qaeda has reconstituted its central leadership and found a new sanctuary in Pakistan to replace the one it lost in Afghanistan. It remains committed to hitting the United States again.

From Google News U.S.

Rove Replacement Seen as Highly Partisan Go-Getter
By Michael Abramowitz, The Washington Post
Monday, September 10, 2007; Page A13

While President Bush was in Australia last week, the White House completed the divvying-up of Karl Rove’s sizable and important portfolio.

Rove’s longtime deputy Barry Jackson is taking over management of the four offices Rove supervised (political affairs, intergovernmental relations, public liaison and strategic initiatives), while new White House counselor Ed Gillespie will assume Rove’s more amorphous role of providing Bush broader strategic advice — with an assist from Jackson and communications chief Kevin Sullivan.

Jackson is one of those Washington worker bees who is virtually unknown outside the White House fence but is well-regarded inside. Early in the Bush presidency, he coordinated the so-called Strategery Group, the senior officials who met regularly for long-term planning under Rove’s auspices.

Remember, The Morning News is an Open Thread.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania. 

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

State of the Onion III

Art Link
Flower

Flower

It started as
a piece of detail
in another work
a small
barely opened bud.

Then it bloomed.

Or is that
the story
of my life?
Sometimes
I forget.

–Robyn Elaine Serven
–November 3. 2005

I know you have talent.  Let it bloom.  Encourage others to let it bloom inside them as well. 

Won’t you share your words or art, your sounds or visions, your thoughts scientific or philosophic, the comedy or tragedy of your days?  And be excellent to one another!

The Morning News

From Yahoo News THE TOP STORY

Sharif deported from Pakistan
By ZARAR KHAN, Associated Press Writer
2 minutes ago

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was deported Monday hours after he had landed in Pakistan from seven years in exile hoping to campaign against the country’s U.S.-allied military ruler, officials said.

About four hours after he arrived on a flight from London, Sharif was taken into custody and charged with corruption, but then quickly spirited to another plane and flown out of Pakistan toward Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, an intelligence official said.

An official in President Gen. Musharraf’s office confirmed Sharif was deported but did not divulge his destination.

Our most important ally in the Global War On Radical Islam (or whatever they’re calling it today).  You know, the one with THE BOMB AND Bin Laden.

The Second Story from Yahoo News

Pentagon planning base near Iraq-Iran border: report
Reuters
1 hour, 30 minutes ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Pentagon is preparing to build a military base near the Iraq-Iran border to try to curtail the flow of advanced Iranian weaponry to Shiite militants across Iraq, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday in its online edition.

Quoting Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, the Journal said the Pentagon also plans to build fortified checkpoints on major highways leading from the Iranian border to Baghdad, and install X-ray machines and explosives-detecting sensors at the only formal border crossing between the two countries.

The base will be located about four miles from the Iranian border and will be used for at least two years, according to the report. U.S. officials told the paper it is unclear whether it will be among the small number of facilities that would remain in Iraq after any future large-scale U.S. withdrawal.

Khe Sahn.  Remember when Godwin frowned on Iraq/Vietnam parallels?

From Yahoo News World

Japan PM Abe’s job at stake as parliament meets
By Linda Sieg, Reuters
46 minutes ago

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began the toughest battle of his political life in a parliament session that opened on Monday after staking his job on extending Japan’s naval mission in support of U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan.

“The military personnel who are silently doing service on the scorching Indian Ocean embody Japan’s international contribution sought by the world,” Abe said in a policy speech to parliament.

“Can we really pull out now and abandon our responsibility to the international community?”

Iraqi PM Maliki expected to go on defensive
By Waleed Ibrahim, Reuters
33 minutes ago

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will address parliament on Monday just hours before American officials deliver a vital progress report on Iraq that could influence future U.S. strategy on the war.

An official in Maliki’s office and officials at parliament said the Shi’ite prime minister would appear before lawmakers. The session opens around midday (0800 GMT), although it was unclear precisely when Maliki would speak.

Maliki is expected to defend his government’s record in the face of blistering criticism from both Iraqi and U.S. lawmakers. Some opposition Democratic legislators in the United States have even called for him to be replaced.

UN atomic agency to meet with ElBaradei urging patience
by Michael Adler, AFP
Mon Sep 10, 12:45 AM ET

VIENNA (AFP) – UN atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei will brush aside US criticism when his IAEA meets Monday and call for worried nations to wait and see if new inspections show whether Tehran seeks the bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency will be hearing an ElBaradei report backing a timetable agreed last month for Iran to answer outstanding questions over its nuclear programme.

ElBaradei has come under fire for his approach as some Western diplomats have said the timetable gives Iran the chance to stave off the threat of new UN sanctions for a few more months.

Al-Sadr overhauling his Shiite militia
By HAMZA HENDAWI and QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writers
1 hour, 27 minutes ago

BAGHDAD – Iraq’s most powerful Shiite militia leader is turning to his commanders who distinguished themselves fighting U.S. troops in 2004 to screen fighters, weed out criminals and assume key positions in an effort to build a more disciplined force, two of his key lieutenants say.

That suggests the goal of Muqtada al-Sadr’s temporary freeze of Mahdi Army activities, announced Aug. 29 following deadly Shiite-Shiite clashes in Karbala, is to bolster the militia to intimidate his Shiite rivals as the anti-American cleric pursues his political ambitions.

A stronger and more efficient Mahdi Army could embolden al-Sadr to take on the rival Badr militia, a move that could fragment and weaken the country’s majority Shiites as gunmen battle for control of Shiite towns and cities.

From Yahoo News U.S.

Britney Spears earns scorn for MTV performance
By Dean Goodman, Reuters
Sun Sep 9, 11:43 PM ET

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Britney Spears launched her highly anticipated comeback at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, drawing ridicule by dressing up as a stripper and miming her new single.

The 25-year-old singer, whose professional achievements have been overshadowed by her personal crises in recent years, performed “Gimme More” in a black sequined bikini and knee-high boots.

No longer boasting the buff body that helped drive her to international superstardom almost a decade ago, the mother of two moved sluggishly around the stage at the Palms casino, often with the support of a troupe of dancers. At one point, the camera panned to rapper 50 Cent, sitting in the audience, who looked bewildered by the action on stage.

Petraeus to argue against big Iraq troop cuts
By Susan Cornwell, Reuters
Mon Sep 10, 12:46 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a report considered crucial to U.S. strategy in the highly unpopular war in Iraq, the top U.S. commander there is expected to tell Congress on Monday that U.S. troop levels should not be cut deeply.

The assessment by Gen. David Petraeus could be a turning point in the conflict and is considered vital to any decisions by President George W. Bush on force levels as he faces demands from Democrats and some senior Republicans for U.S. troops to start leaving Iraq.

A U.S. official who asked not to be named said on Sunday that Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker will argue that a major pullout of U.S. forces would hurt progress made since troop numbers were increased by 30,000 earlier this year.

Gasoline prices rise for first time since July
Reuters
Sun Sep 9, 6:02 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The average retail price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States cost about 6.5 cents more last week, rising for the first time since early July on the back of higher crude oil prices, an industry analyst said on Sunday.

The most recent increase was due to a rise in crude oil prices ahead of this week’s OPEC meeting, but prices will likely remain steady in the coming weeks because there is still ample supply, Lundberg said.

“It is crude oil that ended the price slide at the pump and turned it upward,” Lundberg said. “The supports behind crude oil are world demand and OPEC, which is expected to retain its hard line with a no change in official output” at its September 11 meeting.

Democratic presidential hopefuls hold TV debate in Spanish
by Juan Castro Olivera, AFP
1 hour, 8 minutes ago

MIAMI (AFP) – In a dramatic sign of the fast-changing US society, the US Democratic presidential hopefuls late Sunday held a debate in Spanish that was broadcast on the main US Spanish-language television network.

Seven presidential candidates were at the historic event, including the three front runners, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, Illinois Senator Barack Obama and former South Carolina Senator John Edwards. Senator Joe Biden, who just returned from Iraq, was absent.

Moderators from the Univision network asked questions in Spanish and the candidates, wearing earpieces, heard a translation in English. The answers were given in English and translated into Spanish for viewers.

From Yahoo News Politics

Bush, officials pass buck over who ordered Iraq army disbanded
by Sig Christenson, AFP
Sun Sep 9, 5:47 PM ET

SAN ANTONIO, United States (AFP) – As General David Petraeus prepares to tell Congress that a troop surge has helped tamp down Iraq’s civil war, Washington is in buck-passing mode over who made the decision many say is at the root of the instability: disbanding the Iraqi army.

Former secretary of state Colin Powell says no one told him about it, and that then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was in the dark too.

President George W. Bush says he thought the army would be kept intact after the US-led invasion in March 2003, but concedes to having a fuzzy memory on the matter.

Bush heads home for Iraq battle
by Olivier Knox, AFP
Sun Sep 9, 1:26 AM ET

SYDNEY (AFP) – US President George W. Bush headed home Sunday after leaving an Asia-Pacific summit a day early to marshal his forces for this week’s pitched US political battle over the unpopular war in Iraq.

Bush is expected to make a formal speech to the war-weary US public to insist progress is being made and they should rally behind his strategy.

On his final day here, he seized on a new video from terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, who called for escalating the insurgency in Iraq, to argue that if the Al-Qaeda chief thinks Iraq is important, so should the US public.

US report calls for Iraq exit in five years
AFP
Sun Sep 9, 2:50 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States should halve its military presence in Iraq within three years and completely pull out within five years, the latest US report on the war-scarred country said Sunday.

Only then will Iraq’s government, which has so far been a “disappointment,” take on its own security responsibilities to rebuild the nation, the report by the United States Institute of Peace said.

“The United States faces too many challenges around the world to continue its current level of effort in Iraq, or even the deployment that was in place before the surge,” the report said.

From Yahoo News Opinion

Six years later, terror war leaves unfinished business
USAToday
Mon Sep 10, 12:22 AM ET

The release of a new Osama bin Laden videotape generated breathless analysis of everything from the color of his beard to his crackpot commentary on U.S. politics, global warming and the troubled housing market.

The true importance of the tape, however, is as a reminder of unfinished business in the war against bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terror group. As the nation prepares to mark on Tuesday the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, al-Qaeda has mounted a dismaying rebound from its post-9/11 setbacks.

Bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, remain at large and in touch with current events. Al-Qaeda has reconstituted its central leadership and found a new sanctuary in Pakistan to replace the one it lost in Afghanistan. It remains committed to hitting the United States again.

From Google News U.S.

Rove Replacement Seen as Highly Partisan Go-Getter
By Michael Abramowitz, The Washington Post
Monday, September 10, 2007; Page A13

While President Bush was in Australia last week, the White House completed the divvying-up of Karl Rove’s sizable and important portfolio.

Rove’s longtime deputy Barry Jackson is taking over management of the four offices Rove supervised (political affairs, intergovernmental relations, public liaison and strategic initiatives), while new White House counselor Ed Gillespie will assume Rove’s more amorphous role of providing Bush broader strategic advice — with an assist from Jackson and communications chief Kevin Sullivan.

Jackson is one of those Washington worker bees who is virtually unknown outside the White House fence but is well-regarded inside. Early in the Bush presidency, he coordinated the so-called Strategery Group, the senior officials who met regularly for long-term planning under Rove’s auspices.

Remember, The Morning News is an Open Thread.

“Mapping Claims to the Spoils of Global Warming”

(’cause it belongs on the FP – promoted by LithiumCola)

If you read some newspapers, you’ll find global warming is good for business. No, strike that. Global warming is GREAT for business. This is how the “science” journal at the Wall Street Journal enthusiastically describes what Global Warming means to its readers.

Icebreaker HealyResearchers aboard the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy are accutane users mapping claims to the spoils of global warming.

North of Alaska, the 23 scientists of the Healy are gathering the data legally required to extend national territories across vast reaches of the mineral-rich seafloor usually blocked by Arctic ice. Fathom by fathom, multibeam sonar sensors mounted on the Healy’s hull chart a submerged plateau called the Chukchi Cap, in a region that may contain 25% of the world’s reserves of oil and natural gas.

In an era of climate change, these frozen assets are up for grabs, as melting ice allows detailed mapping and, one day perhaps, drilling.

The faster the ice goes, the sooner the oil flows. And vice versa. The faster we burn oil, the sooner the ice goes. Where there’s oil, there’s money to be made. The stunning, accelerating loss of the polar ice cap merely opens up the Arctic for oil and gas exploitation. If the polar bears go extinct along the way, then sobeit — no cost to doing business.

In the hunt for Arctic oil, the U.S. has joined Denmark, Norway, Canada, and Russia. No country ‘owns’ the North Pole, but in August, Russia went and placed a flag on the ocean floor at the North Pole claiming it for Moscow. “If recognized, the claim would bring 1.2 million square kilometers of seabed under Russian influence. Current laws grant countries an economic zone of 200 nautical miles beyond their land borders, but the zone can be extended where a country can prove a geological relationship between its own territory and the land beyond.”

While Russia is busy placing flags, the United States is trying to determine what’s at stake. As an article in Spiegel Online, USGS Looking for Fossil Fuels in the Arctic, explains:

While countries surrounding the Arctic get geared up for what promises to be a drawn-out diplomatic tiff over who owns what beneath the polar ice cap, the US Geological Survey is busy trying to figure out whether that territory is even worth owning.

For the next several months — until the presentation of its final report in the summer of 2008 — the USGS will be conducting an assessment of just how much oil and gas might be hiding under the ice. By analyzing rock types and formations and by looking at geologic history, the team hopes to provide accurate guesses as to where deposits are to be found and whether they contain natural gas, crude oil — or nothing.

According to OPEC, “Oil exploration can cost tens or hundreds of billions of dollars.” But the price tag for the Healy expedition is a mere $1 million and the entire proposed budget for the USGS in 2008 is only $1.033 billion. If researchers can find where are likely oil fields, then expeditions like the Healy and research done by USGS scientists are a ‘bargain’. Because not only do the U.S. taxpayers foot the bill, but it saves money for the oil corporations that would have been spent on exploration and that’s good for their bottom lines.

The Bush administration has mobilized the government to hunt for the last, untapped oil fields across the earth. The Christian Science Monitor noted that not only has the US Coast Guard joined in the Arctic oil rush, but “the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been conducting similar surveys over the past several years around the Marianas Islands, the Gulfs of Alaska and Mexico, and off New England”. From the invasion and occupation of Iraq to the using government agencies to hunt for oil, it’s as if the Bush administration has transformed the U.S. government into a tool for oil corporations.

Polar bearIn lamenting the appalling fate of the polar bears, The Independent wrote, “polar bears – the very symbol of the Arctic’s looming environmental disaster – are crashing towards extinction as a result of global warming, the US government has found. The admission, the result of a massive investigation by the Bush administration, could force the President finally to take action against climate change…” But, why would George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, two oil men, take any action to reverse global warming?

Polar bears don’t drive SUVs. Polar bears don’t need plastic bottles of water. Polar bears don’t use oil to heat. In reality, polar bears are “giant, marauding, godless killing machines” [Warning Colbert on O’Reilly]. If anything, the polar bears must be eliminated and global warming isn’t doing the job fast enough. Because, according to The Independent, “American hunters exploit a loophole in the Marine Mammal Protection Act that allows them to get licences to import polar bear trophies from Canada. Some 953 have been granted or applied for since 1994.” Dick Cheney would be proud.

The polar bears are standing on the last chunks of polar ice in the way of the last, great oil boom. Or, as Spiegel observes of the first Arctic oil report put out by the USGS — “even if the fossil riches were proven, there is at present no profitable way to extract reserves buried under a thick armor of floating ice.” But not for long. If you’re the oil men in the Bush administration, why would you even think of trying to halt or reverse global warming? The faster the ice goes, the sooner Arctic oil will flow.

Portions of this essay appeared in “The Faster the Ice Goes, the Sooner the Oil Flows” on Daily Kos.

Speaking Your Mind vs. Manipulation

(because the crazy fool gave me a set of keys – promoted by pyrrho)

A few days ago at Talk Left Big Tent Democrat wrote a piece on his take on Matt Stoller’s and Glen Greenwald’s position on the Iraq war. In short he characterizes the position if not as defeatist, then somehow improperly resigned pessimism.  Big Tando Dem quotes their willingness to cede the issue to a post-Bush world optimistically also known as “2009”. I agree with him on various things here: that Stoller is an ineffective activist and pundit both, except to be fair, I’m not paying attention, he could be brilliant and I wouldn’t know, I do not follow him at all except as he arises from time to time regarding things like Townhouse List or the “More $$$ for Bloggers! Movement”™.

Glen defends himself with this reply that leads to the point here:

Feel free to cheer for the war’s end.  I do the same.  But that doesn’t make it likely to happen. 

And if Democrats are failing to stop the war – as they are – why should anyone refrain from being honest and saying so?

To which BigTentDemocrat replies:

But the question is why? To pressure them to react and do the right thing? OR to just say so?

We all have eyes. The question is what we want them to do and how to make them do it, if we can.

This is where nearly where I disagree with BigTentDemocrat. You see, I agree we should still speak against the war, and I agree with this update to this essay:

Update [2007-9-5 13:58:39 by Big Tent Democrat]: Apparently NOT just a “network of fairly well trafficked blogs” when it suits them:

  So, the progressive blogosphere just played a huge role in winning a Democratic primary for US House. this is a major accomplishment. Well done and thank you to everyone who participated in the fundraiser.

I wish Stoller and Bowers and the NETROOTS could make up their minds as to whether they just “folks with blogs” or playing “huge roles.”

So do I BigTendoDem, I wish that. But where I disagree with, you, BigTentArmando (is the moratorium on “Armando” over or what?) and always have, is where to side on this dichotomy within the blogosphere between “say what you will” vs. “use your power for good”. My take is based on a view of the blogosphere as a peer to peer phenomenon, or, really The Peer to Peer Phenomenon which is itself a storm of energy that fires up wherever it is able to. This storm could be seen on the net, and still can, everywhere, it rages through and leaves structure in its wake.

It just a few years ago now stormed onto the political landscape, where it promises to be a lasting factor of some kind.  The factor it ought to have, and I think ultimately will, is that of the people expressing themselves. If the people have inane interests (Spears) then that’ll be there… if they believe conspiracy, it’ll be there, and so on.  If you don’t like it, well, at least you get to see there is a problem there, you get to have your say to it, and thus, many people like to go to the forums of those they disagree with and correct them.  It can actually be productive, though I find you will never convince that person, you may convince a passing reader.
From that view it is clear the point of blogs is to “JUST SAY IT!”, whatever it is you want to say.  Make sure you really want to say it then go. If blogs get more controlled than that (note to self, use past tense) then that peer to peer energy will be diverted and go somewhere else.

People will experess themselves. The purpose of the public conversation on the net is for people to be able to be heard. The part where people find someone to listen is fine, but it’s the same old part, fame and attention, the new part is the expression, and the fact that there is attention and engagement without fame as well. Feedback.

You have something strong willed to say…? You are in doubt, but just say it, and then we’ll sort it out. To do anything else is manipulation… or worse, merely attempt at manipulation.

Are we here to advocate manipulation? I think we as liberals and progressives alike have ALL lamented at some time or other the manipulation of population.

Is it just that it wasn’t us doing the manipulating? Really?!? Given the chance it’s our responsibility to manipulate? Instead of relate, express, be straight?

I don’t.

I may influence people by saying what I believe if they then arrive not at what I said, but at their own idea informed by the fact that I talked to them on the subject. That’s the only way it really works out anyway. People change themselves. When they pretend to have wholly changed to a totally newly discovered idea they are just playing with a toy, one easily picked up, easily dropped. You can manipulate people with their biases and fears but they will simply revert on their own or be manipulated by some other emotional player. That might be an effective way to sell cola but I don’t think there is long term progress for culture in that. That is just manipulating the easily swayed and cyclic swing voters of life.

When people speak their mind they refuse to let their tongues be tied, so to speak, they spit it out and speak. Now that is inspiring to others and is the source of genuine “influence” on the net. That inspiration is something wholly fantastic compared to carefully spoken “influences”.

Speaking freely, against the perceived if not actual mainstream grain often works to create popular movements. But also often, what works to dilute and defeat these same movements is the great feelings of responsibility that then well up. And by “great” I mean more like “narcissistic”.

The responsibility of someone that has gotten the attention of an audience for speaking their mind is naturally “keep speaking your mind”. Isn’t that logical? You can change if as an individual your life changes, or even career, but not because of the simple fact that people are listening. People are listening to honesty, and want to hear that.

To start speaking something else more careful is to try to turn a reputation for honesty to dishonest means.


This blogosphere is full of all sorts of people and any individual that likes to can claim outlier status and declare themselves personally exempt from my point. I mean, if Bush started blogging, yes, as President of the United States I would want him to speak responsibly. And if some blogger “breaks through” and becomes a journalist… fine, they ought to speak with reference to journalistic ethics. But the question is what do bloggers qua bloggers need to do, in general, as bloggers. If they have other roles in life I am not surprised and know those other roles give them other responsibilities and purposes… of course. But as bloggers their role is that of “peer” in a network of peers sharing real, valid, information about their state of mind. They should ideally post as citizens speaking their true minds without regard to popularity. They should be speaking or not only with regard to the importance they attach to expressing themselves on the issue in question. If it’s not a big deal to you, don’t pretend it is, if it is a big deal to you, don’t pretend it’s not.

So which are bloggers: Pundits or Activists? They can be either, or, even, both, but in all cases if they are “blogger” pundits, or “blogger” activists, they should speak their own mind freely, that is the purpose, from the point of view of our national needs, in my opinion, of blogging. Their purpose as bloggers does not lie in categories that apply to them as individuals, roles like “pundit” or “activist”. Their purpose lies in the shape of the network, in the grammar of the network and their place in that grammar. This peer to peer network on the internet should rightfully be a place for all citizens to take part in the national and international public debates now finally brought, almost, to the people.

The internet din of political conversation must, absolutely, represent what people are really thinking.

We should be able to use the internet to find out what other people are thinking, specifically people we don’t have access to in our closed groups of friends and like minded compatriots. We ought to get a glimpse into real thoughts, not just what people front to those around them to stay working or get laid… or to attempt the losing gambit of tricking a politician into a given behavior. We don’t need the internet to convey and perpetuate the type of b.s. surface layer of “things you can admit to on TV”. We don’t need it for the type of realism you get in a “gritty sitcom” that can have just as much reality as does not offend its advertiser. There is no value in transferring to teh network the type of “truth” a poor journalist conveys out of stuff an insider pulled out of their personally self-serving optimistic imagination.
(**cough** Chalabi **cough** Miller **cough**).


Politicians are hard to trick, much easier to scare them than trick them, and seeing real ideas online scares them, or … did, for a bit, until it got very solemn and, “wait, don’t rock the boat”-ish.

Bloggers at “relatively high trafficked” blogs owe it to their readers to be straight forward… and the very likely fact that they won’t be is why the peer to peer magic will move on to whomever is. People right now want to know what everyone is thinking. The topics they want to hear those thoughts on vary, but more and more, whatever the topic, they are less impressed with only expert opinions. They know experts are trained to manipulate them, and further, that each expert has some opposing expert willing and able to argue the opposite and manipulate in the counter direction. They prefer more and more to know what other people really think. Experts make better advocates than judges leaving people as the judges, our fellow people. We are interested in sharing some of their judgment without being told to accept it because of it’s higher quality.

They want to see the thinking of these fellow humans with the filters off. They are brave. They are ready to hear the thoughts of others after a long and apprehensive wait.

They don’t seek some elite from which to adopt thinking. They are not on a quest to find yet another meritocracy able to identify their betters. Even when people do really seek just such a meritocracy, they are certainly not likely to think aptitude at blogging qualifies candidates for that meritocracy! Have some humility. “I’m a blogger” is not a status increasing statement in general society. I wager even among those that read blogs it’s not. Most people are listening to you because they are interested in what other people like them have to say, possibly that people like them can do neat things, but also including people stupider than themselves.

People seek to get what’s really going on in the heads of their fellow citizens, and you should just give it to them.

A progressive future needs to involve much less manipulation than the past has. Instead of manipulation we need education, public conversation, and personal responsibility. We must all learn to take responsibility for our opinions rather than put the value off to some expert. The notion that bloggers are some new expert, that the old system does work if just we have this newly chosen expert to rely on, to get an opinion from, is, frankly, laughable… not just laughable but pathetic.


Bloggers are only experts about their own opinions.


BUT THAT’S ENOUGH. Just share that.

The Meaning Of Petraeus

At Talk Left, I wrote a piece describing what I believe would be the most effective manner for Democrats to deal with the Petraeus Show coming to a Congress near you this week. I’ll post the text on the flip.

But I wanted to make a point first. To wit, Petraeus and his Surge is nothing but bullshit. I assume we all know this but we have seen and will see a lot of “serious” discussion about it. Let’s be clear, there is no hope for a good ending for the United States in Iraq. It is a Debacle and there is nothing that will change that, short of, perhaps, a reconquering of Iraq, conscription of a million Americans and World War III in the Middle East. Of course such an approach would not only be lunacy, it will never happen (just as war with Iran UNCONNECTED to Iraq will never happen).

So all this “serious” talk is unserious and ridiculous in the extreme. Take for instance, via Yglesias, this discussion by two of the more foolish “serious” people we encounter in these discussions, Packer and Dodge:

Dodge’s grim vision does not make an irrefutable case for staying in Iraq. But it’s a reminder that the illusions and naïve hopes with which America started the war shouldn’t accompany its end. [WTF? We should persist in illusions and naive hopes as a basis for foreign policy? Quintessential idiocy from Packer.]

. . . This doesn’t mean keeping large numbers of troops in Iraq indefinitely; that has become impossible. David Kilcullen argued that next summer, when the surge is scheduled to end, American forces could be reduced to a level-say, eighty thousand-that might allow most of the core interests to be protected. . . . [W]hen the surge ends, there will have to be a strategic turn, away from Americans in the lead. An indefinite war in Iraq “costs us moral authority across the world,” Kilcullen said. The occupation of Iraq remains hugely unpopular with America’s democratic allies and throughout the Arab and Muslim world. “We need that moral authority as ammunition in the fight against Al Qaeda,” he added. “If we’re not down to fifty thousand troops in three to five years, we’ve lost the war on terror.”

(Emphasis supplied.) Can you believe this shit? Can you believe these idiot “serious” people make a claim for the US having moral authority in the war on terror? After torture, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo and the the rest? These are the elites of this country we are told. If you wonder how we came to this end, just think of WHAT THESE PEOPLE SAY NOW!! If we can not defeat these “elites” politically, we are simply fucked as a country.

More.

More from Packer:

Toby Dodge admitted that anyone arguing against immediate withdrawal has to face the “killer question: Why should American troops continue to die when the chances for success are so low?” He offered his answer “with an honest recognition that it doesn’t sound very plausible.” Dodge’s approach would bring the maximum pressure to bear on Iraqi politicians by persuading the region and the world-Iraq’s neighbors, the European Union, the United Nations-to come into the Green Zone, not as tools of American policy but as equal partners in an effort to force a political deal, not unlike the U.N.’s role in creating a government in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. This would imply an American confession of failure. Instead of pursuing more ambitious goals for democracy in the region, the U.S. would offer security guarantees to Iran and Syria in exchange for coöperation. “We then turn to the Iraqi government,” Dodge went on, “and say, ‘You’ve got to reform your government, make it more inclusive, less corrupt, more coherent, less sectarian.’ So the Iraqi government is reconstituted within a multilateral framework where the E.U., the U.N., and the U.S. are all singing from the same hymnbook.”

And, even accepting that this has ANY chance of success NOW, pigs will fly before the Bush Administration would even discuss it, so what the fuck are these “serious” people fucking talking about? But let’s pretend, as Yglesias does, that there is any chance of these fabulist proposals even being mooted by the bush Administration. As Yglesias says:

What I don’t understand is why Packer and Dodge don’t draw the obvious conclusion — it’s not a good idea to do something incredibly costly like staying in Iraq for many additional years on the basis of a not very plausible plan that’s unlikely to succeed. . . . A costly, likely to fail strategy, however, isn’t an alternative to failure. Most likely, your likely to fail non-plausible strategy is just going to fail. And if Dodge wouldn’t “bet the house” on his plan succeeding, then what are we supposed to say to the National Guardsman whose family is going to lose its house if he’s injured in Iraq and can’t work anymore? If Dodge won’t “bet the house” on his plan, then why should our troops risk their lives for it? I couldn’t possibly imagine looking someone heading off to war in the eye and giving him this account of why his service is vital and necessary.

(Emphasis supplied.) Consider how ridiculous the Packer and Dodge discussion is. NOW consider how much worse the ACTUAL Petraeus plan is. And finally consider that Democrats, KNOWING ALL THIS, remain willing to “looking someone heading off to war in the eye and giving [them] this account of why his service is vital and necessary.”

You know, I have as low an opinion of politicians as I think anyone could, but what this Democratic Congress is willing to do goes to a level of moral despicability that reaches lows seldom seen. Suppose they are right on the politics, and they are not, does NOTHING ever trump politics? Nothing at all?

Not for them. And in that spirit, I offer this “advice” on how to handle Petraeus this week:

General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will be testifying before Congress on Monday and Wednesday, providing his self evaluation of his own military strategy in Iraq. It is no doubt tempting for Democratic members of Congress to challenge General Petraeus' self assessment. My view is that this would be a mistake. The line of argument to take is not to question Petraeus' military assessment. The optics of congresspersons battling on military questions with a 4 star General will not work in the short term.

The line of questioning should be to go above Petraeus's head and question the strategy of President Bush. In short the Surge is failing NOT because of Petraeus, but because the strategy that calls for the military TACTICS Petraeus is employing are failing. I suggest citing the conservative columnist George Will:

The recent National Intelligence Estimate said that although the surge is producing real if uneven security improvements, progress toward political reconciliation has been negligible and might be perishable. Hence the surge is a tactical success disconnected from the strategic objective it is supposed to serve.

(Emphasis supplied.) Here's the argument – General Petraeus' tactical military success is doing nothing to make the STRATEGY in Iraq a success. God bless our wonderful troops, but our President has a failed strategy. In other words, praise the troops, but point out that the strategy of the Commander in Chief in Iraq remains a failure. The question the Democratic Congress must present to the country is how many Americans must sacrifice for an Iraqi government that is unwilling or unable to take the steps necessary to save George Bush's face.

Ritter: What Katie Couric Should Be Asking About Iraq

At Truthdig former UN chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter writes:

There is no reason to believe that the compliant war facilitators who comprise the “anti-war” Democratic majority in Congress will do anything other than give the president what he is asking for.  No one seems to want to debate, in any meaningful fashion, what is really going on in Iraq.

Why would they?  The Democrats, like their Republican counterparts, have invested too much political capital into fictionalizing the problem with slogans like “support the troops,” “we’re fighting the enemy there so we don’t have to fight them here,” and my all-time favorite, “leaving Iraq would hand victory to al-Qaida.”

In my opinion he overstates the case. I believe many among the Democrats, particularly among the Out of Iraq Caucus, truly do want to bring the war to a close as speedily as can be done without adding to the disaster. But it can hardly be doubted at this point that the leadership would prefer not to take the political risks of actually dealing with the issue now, preferring to wait until they have clearer margins of power in 2009.

Ritter goes on:

Nearly 4 1/2 years after President Bush’s ill-fated (and illegal) decision to invade and occupy Iraq, few people in a position to influence policy formulation and implementation in America have actually grasped the horrible truth about what has transpired, and what is transpiring, in Mesopotamia today. As the United States places the finishing touches on Fortress America, the new half-billion-dollar Embassy complex in the heart of the Green Zone in downtown Baghdad, and more troops pour into mega-bases throughout Iraq, the reality (and futility) of permanent occupation has yet to sink in. What could be going through the minds of those members of Congress who keep signing blank checks for the president?  Is there no oversight of how and why this money is spent? How can someone fund permanent infrastructure one day, then speak of the need to get out of Iraq the next?

Good point, that.

He then suggests three questions the media should be asking about Iraq instead of the idiotic ones that “journalists” like Katie Couric are asking:

The real big three [questions] she should be addressing are “Why do Americans keep dying?” “Who is killing them?” and “Why?” Of course, answering these questions would undermine the very fantasy world Couric is being sent to cover, one where Americans are doing good deeds in the name of peace and justice for downtrodden Iraqis.

Under no illusions that any of the Very Serious talking heads might be asking those questions any time soon, he answers them himself:

If Couric and her ilk won’t answer these questions, I will.  “Why do Americans keep dying?” Simple:  Because we are in Iraq.  We don’t belong there.  Our presence is derived from our own violation of law, not someone else’s, and as such any effort to sustain our presence is tainted by this same foundation of illegitimacy. In short, Americans will keep dying in Iraq as long as we remain in Iraq…

“Who is killing them?” Another easy answer:  Iraqis.  We are occupying their homeland.  We are violating their sovereignty.  We are butchering, abusing and torturing their citizens.  Our continued presence is an affront to the socioeconomic-political fabric that is (or was) Iraqi society.  If someone occupied my hometown in the same manner Americans occupy Iraq, I’d be killing them any way I could.  And I would be called a hero by my own people, not a terrorist.  The Bush administration, in an effort to deflect public attention away from this reality, has created the fiction of a massive al-Qaida presence in Iraq, working in parallel with a similarly large Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command presence, which apparently is responsible for the majority of anti-American violence and dead U.S. troops….

Now we come to the third and perhaps most difficult question: “Why?”

I’ll let you go and read the rest of the piece yourself for that answer – I’ve excerpted enough. He says it comes down to Americans not truly caring. But personally I think it isn’t a matter of not caring, only that people haven’t been informed about the truth. The fact that the people here who have become informed care so much tells me otherwise. But I do think his final point is a good one, and well worth some thought:

In a way, Iraq is a manifestation of all that ails America today. A complete breakdown of fundamental societal checks and balances brought on by greed and hubris. From General Petraeus who will give it, to the mindless corporate-owned minions who populate much of Congress who will receive it, to the entertainment-as-news media which will report on it, and to the American people who will consume it with no foundation upon which to evaluate it, the “Petraeus Report” will have little relevance to what is really going on in Iraq.

Oral Exam

I would so enjoy the day that the following questions are asked of every presidential candidate, every senator and every representative. Care to speculate on anyone’s probable answers?

What should the U.S. do vis-a-vis Iraq?

Well, let’s start at the beginning:

What is the mandate via the Constitution for use of the military in foreign lands?

Under what stated mission is the military acting in Iraq? Afghanistan? (Really – provide the mission statement or the link to the same.)

What criteria are stated by which to measure the progress and/or completion of the stated mission(s). Again – provide the written criteria, the author(s) and the links or citations.

Provide the reports by independent and neutral third parties which states the methods used to identify how closely the military has met the mission.

WHAT?  You can’t answer any items past the Constitutional parameters for the use of the military in foreign lands?????

Now you get it!

Out. Of. Iraq. Now.

Republicans: Out Loud, in Front of Microphones

In the ongoing struggle to pretend that, despite long-standing poll results, there is some sort of debate in America as to whether we should leave Iraq, the Republican nominees for President are coming up with the most laughable rationales for staying. 

That no one is pointing out that these statements, made on the record, out loud and in front of microphones, virtually guarantee a rout for the Democratic nominee in the 2008 national debates, is curious.  The Democratic nominee merely needs to quote some of this stuff, and ask whether anyone wants the quoted Republican near the nuclear button, or, for that matter, near large boards with nails in them.

Democrats in Washington either haven’t realized this or don’t want to admit that they have, for fear that the admission would then require them to stop worrying about “tactics” and to move aggressively in the direction of their constituents.

Senator John McCain on Meet the Press today, as reported in the New York Times:

But Mr. McCain, a Republican presidential candidate and Vietnam veteran like Mr. Kerry but also a onetime prisoner-of-war, offered an impassioned, personal argument for standing firm in Iraq:

“I know what it’s like when we have a defeated army,” he said. “It’s tough when you have an overstressed Guard and reserve. It’s tough when you have overstressed men and women serving in the military with incredible bravery and heroism. But when they’re defeated – in the 1970s after we were defeated, we had riots on our aircraft carriers. We had rampant drug use. We had insubordination. We had a broken army. And it took us a decade to recover from that.”

This “Keeping Our Kids Off Drugs” rationale for sustaining the occupation of Iraq deserves scorn, and lots of it.  Never mind that McCain is old and befuddled; he wants to rule the free world.

Of course, the idea that leaving Iraq would dampen the spirits of men and women getting stop-lossed there is not a new one for Senator McCain.  It is also not true.  Huffington Post, Feb. 8, 2006: 

A first-ever survey of U.S. troops on the ground fighting a war overseas has revealed surprising findings, not the least of which is that an overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year.

For the record, when McCain says “riots on our aircraft carriers” he is referring, I suppose, to the 1972 race riot on board the USS Kitty Hawk.  Time magazine reported that there had been 46 injuries and 28 arrests resulting from a 6-hour fight while the ship was at sea:

Some scuffling between blacks and whites began in early October. The blacks circulated-and believed-a report that the whites had hired a karate expert to intimidate them. They also took umbrage at a rumor that two blacks who had slugged whites had been thrown into the brig, while a white who had beaten up a black was given only a warning. Just before the riot, frequent fights flashed through an enlisted men’s club in Subic Bay, where the ship was docked for resupply and recreation.

The Pentagon concluded that the riot on board the Kitty Hawk as well as two previous riots on board Navy ships had been caused by systemic racism. 

A congressional subcommittee is currently investigating the Kitty Hawk riot, along with racial outbreaks on the carrier Constellation and the oiler Hassayampa, to determine whether or not such problems stem from a lack of discipline in the Navy. Meanwhile, the manner in which the Kitty Hawk conducts its courts-martial will also be watched carefully. A biracial Pentagon task-force report on military justice, released last week by Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, charged that there was a definite pattern of discrimination against blacks in the meting out of punishment. The report gave substance to black sailors’ claims that recent riots have been fueled by discrimination; it also lent credence to recent statements by Elmo Zumwalt, chief of naval operations, who has attributed such insurrections to the fact that the Navy’s “middle management” has not carried out his myriad programs to ease racial tension, rather than to any lack of discipline that could be traced to his reforms of traditional Navy regulations.

The unrest was not, that is to say, caused by any military defeat; although McCain is free to argue that the U.S. was defeated in Vietnam in 1972 — months before the Paris Peace Accords — and that this defeat was the cause of racial tension in the U.S.  In fact, I encourage him to do so, on stage, next to the Democratic nominee for President.

Earlier this year, Rudy Giuliani offered the entertaining suggestion that losing our militancy in the Were Against Terror would result in a mandatory change of clothes for American women.

The gray-haired woman raises her hand and compliments His Honor for his Sept. 11 bravery. Then she asks him:

Why does so much of the world hate us? Haven’t we failed to understand Arab grievances? We misinterpret their word “jihad,” which is not necessarily a hostile word.

— snip —

“They hate you,” he says of the Islamic terrorists, bringing his hands up to his chest. “They don’t want you to be in this college, or you, or you – -.”

Mr. Giuliani wheels around and points toward another middle-aged woman in the front row, who looks momentarily startled. “And you can’t wear that outfit because you’re showing your arms.”

“This is reality, ma’am,” he continues, his voice streaked with just a touch of exasperation. “This isn’t me making it up. I saw reality after 9/11. You’ve got to clear your head.”

Be it noted that this dangerous lunatic is the Republican front-runner.

The alarming thing, then, is not that Democrats might lose the Presidency; they won’t.  Bush’s “aw shucks, so what if I’m stupid” routine won’t work for any of the Republican nominees, both because of their personas as serious men and because of the times. 

Rather, the alarming thing is that the Democrats in Washington aren’t using this Republican punt to 2012 to more effectively combat, ridicule, and heap scorn upon the beleaguered Republican party.  Taking the Republicans seriously in this election cycle is a sign of not realism but complicity.  That is what alarms.

Which Side Are You On?

Many of you have met my son Daniel.  He is my only child and means everything to me.  He and I along with a few hundred thousand of our best friends are marching on Washington D.C. this coming Saturday, September 15th, 2007.  We are going to demand an end to the madness in Iraq, and justice and accountability for the criminal scum in the White House.  The war may not end and there may never be any justice – but no one will ever be able to say that we didn’t demand it – and no one will ever be able to say that we didn’t put ourselves on the line to make it happen.

Which-side-are-you-on

http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=cialis-original-x-generico Natalie Merchant ~ Which side are you on?

http://buy-generic-clomid.com Joan Baez ~ Where have all the flowers gone?

http://acrossaday.com/?search=levitra-is-there-a-generic Bob Dylan & Joan Baez ~ Blowing in the wind

Joan Baez ~ Marching up to freedom land

jimi_hendrix_Power-of-Love-final

Fear or Love? ~ the Revolution is Now!

Information on rideshares, room and board, kossack meet-up plans, etc. are available at Road2DC.

BREAKING!  Kossacks are meeting up at the site of the national Christmas tree from 11:00 a.m. til noon when we’ll join the rest of the march.  See ya there!  And wear some orange if you can.  🙂

Stop-the-War-and-Impeach

War-is-Over

Joe Biden is a Liar

In an article about the ostensible Democratic prebuttal to the Petraeus testimony, Senator and Presidential candidate Joe Biden is quoted as saying:

Unless we get 67 votes to override [Bush’s] veto, there’s nothing we can do to stop this war

This of course, is a lie. It does not take 67 Senators to stop funding.

Ask A Kossack

One of the most impressive things about YOU, fellow Kossaks, is the breadth of knowledge YOU have accumulated.  Smarts spanning from aardvarks to Zymurgy.  If you ask a question on Dkos, ANY question, it WILL be answered, at the very least with a link or a clue!
The Daily Kos is truly a cornucopia of information.  So much so that it can be like Sipping from a firehose!.  I don’t want to try to tell you how to use it!!!  So here is Not buhdydharma’s New User’s Guide to dKos!.  The best guide to Dkos ever written IMHO!  And for a list of GOOD series on Dkos have a look at this part of the FAQ!  Yes dkos is Wunnerful and with these few extra gems of wisdom in hand, you may peruse its pulchritude at your pleasure!

Any Questions?

So, what IS your question?  If I can’t answer it someone else will!  Silly questions  Serious questions.  Big questions.  Small questions.  Bring em on !
PLEASE REMEMBER, THIS IS A  COOPERATIVE EFFORT!!! MAKE SURE YOU TRY TO ANSWER A FEW QUESTIONS WHILE YOU ARE HERE!!!
BTW 42 is NOT the meaning of life, my favorite color is blue, no,  green (I’m still here!), and tying fruit of any kind to swallows is indicative of a very peculiar and rare psychosexual disease….seek help! While speculating on the airspeed of UNLADEN swallows is a far milder form….I still urge you to examine your soul!  For those who have no idea what I am talking about I urge YOU to …Ask A Kossak!

And now for something completely different-

French Taunting

Oh, you wanted an argument.

Spoiler Alert!

This space left intentionally blan….D’oh!

Look for genuine The Daily Show\/The Cølbert Repørt epidodes tomorrow as well as
TDS\/TCR\/Olbermann Spoiler Thread!!!
TiaRachel, Mistress of the Dark, Hosting!
Whoo Hoo!

See.  You know more already!

Your First Question- Now w/Free Answer!

Yin Yang

So where is budhy?

budhy is now safely at his new undisclosed location.  Because of difficulties establishing secure communications he is reduced to smoke signals (translated by the local shaman).

Or that’s what he says, it would be just like him to leave me chained to this wheel forever.

Blatant Editorializing!

What’s up with you?

I mean seriously, I’ve been busy this last couple of weeks, haven’t mixed it up in the comments as much as I normally do, but I do read.  A lot.

You’re down in the mouth, discouraged, ready to give up and capitulate quicker than a Congressional Democrat.

Screw that.

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.

This is our situation, and who will may know it.

By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils-
* a ravaged country
* a depopulated city
* habitations without safety
* and slavery without hope

Our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of.

Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.

Tom Paine, The Crisis

Read it again, especially the parts about Torys.

Some people, even in our own party are-

Just.  Plain.  Stupid.

There you have it.  42.  The meaning of life, the universe, and well… everything.

Living in a world of idiots (and we all do) is difficult because you have to be very patient and explain things over and over again.

Slowly.

In small words that are easy to understand.

Here’s what John Kerry (yes that one) came to say to us this week-

But the main question is: what can we do about it? I’m going to make this case in any way I can. Television, newspapers, you name it. There’s no magic bullet to this; we simply need to apply as much pressure as possible in as many ways as possible. I’ll be back with some specific actions from time to time because concerted action by many people toward a single goal gets the best results. But do as much as you can all the time. Drop by your representatives’ office and let them know your feelings. Write, call, fax, email, get in contact any way you can. These actions aren’t glamorous, but they really do make a difference. And don’t lose faith. The other side in this debate is intent on outlasting us, convinced that we’ll give up. You and I have to make sure that they are wrong on that.

Anyone who gives up now is as cowardly as the most craven Bush Dog.

I’m not here to talk with whiners, but with warriors.

I want you

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