Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Just in Case Anyone Was Wondering ...

... This is what it looks like when one caucus of the War Party officially scrapes the bottom of the barrel.

Or, to look at it another way: here's the official front-runner.

Hmmmmmm. Alrighty then!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Free-est Country in the World

Recommendation: read this. Not because it's pleasant reading, but just because we all ought to know something about our Homeland, the Security of which is in such good hands.

And teeth.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Memorial Day

We have another holiday coming up tomorrow. The idea of a remembrance of those murdered by the ruling thugs of the State, in pursuit of its favorite game -- warfare -- is a good one. We should all spend such days in somber repentance of any past support we've given the state in its lawlessness, and in resolving to resist such lawlessness in the present and future. Of course, that's not what our supervisors encourage; they'd rather we cheer all wars -- past, present, and future -- and those who "lead" us into them.

Don't misunderstand me; I'm not actually a pacifist. I recognize, in principle, the possibility of a just war. Trouble is, I know of hardly any actual just wars. Thinking back through American history, I recognize one just war (the American Revolution) and another with some elements of justification (the War of 1812, although it could and should have been avoided).

Meanwhile, we're all supposed to spend the Lord's Day tomorrow in some kind of orgy of faux-patriotism. Well, to Hell with all of that. If all goes according to plan, I'll spend the morning in worshipping the Prince of Peace, and the afternoon in rest, perchance in contemplation. Meanwhile, let's have a poem: the work of Wilford Owen, who knew what he talked about.


by Wilford Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

With that, I wish you, not a "happy" Memorial Day, but a contemplative one.

The Next Great Adventure

The Iranians say they have discovered U.S.-run "spy operation" in Iran:
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran said Saturday it has uncovered spy rings organized by the United States and its Western allies, claiming on state-run television that the espionage networks were made up of "infiltrating elements from the Iraqi occupiers."

... [snip] ...

Saturday's Iranian statement followed reports that President Bush has authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to launch new covert action to destabilize the Iranian government.

Iranian officials have repeatedly raised concerns that Washington could incite members of Iran's many ethnic and religious minorities against the Shiite-led government in Tehran.

Although the United States has denied such reports, it has launched several Iran-related initiatives, including establishing offices for Iranian affairs in Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates, and committing $75 million to promoting democracy in Iran.
With both the lame-duck Bushies and their Democratic enablers pantingly anxious to find an excuse to take their frustrations out on the Iranians, from the air at least, can there be any possible doubt that there are American black ops in Iran? One might doubt whether the Iranians have actually identified any of them, but you have to think they exist.

God help us all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Still Think Voting Makes Any Difference?

Please note that the Democratic Party is now unveiling its fully-bipartisan thugs' agreement with the Republican Party:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi will present a plan to House Democrats for a war funding bill that won't include a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq but will feature benchmarks with consequences, according to Democratic leadership aides.

The bill also would raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour from $5.15 per hour, and fund other domestic spending programs, which were still being negotiated.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said any talk of a deal was premature.

"We're hopeful that the discussions over the emergency supplemental funding bill for the troops is nearing a conclusion," she said. "We have not seen the final language yet, and we look forward to reviewing it."

The legislation would provide more than $90 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through September 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Leadership aides said the benchmarks would be tied to Iraq reconstruction aid and would require President Bush to present to Congress numerous reports before August.
Ah, but there's benchmarks! Yeah, right:
Reconstruction funds could be cut if the Iraqi government fails to meet the U.S. benchmarks, but the president could waive those penalties if he feels it necessary.
Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid ... they all consider it so important to help the GOP continue its proprietorship of the Mideast fiasco that it's worth the lives of the Americans, and the many more Iraqis, who will be slaughtered between now and that long-distant time at which the game clock runs out on the Bush regime. My impulse is to make a sarcastic wish that the so-called opposition party's nomenklatura sleeps well at night during this time. Trouble is, I'm sure they do, in fact, sleep quite well indeed.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Another Sunday Morning

Last week was interesting -- in a horrible sort of way -- but enough's enough, and I was congregated with my brother and sister congregants during the usual times yesterday morning. But now I've caught on to this miracle internet thing, and I can easily pick up a "Meet the Press" transcript whenever I want. Will wonders never cease?

Clearly, they haven't ceased yet. I find that Newtie "Divorce Them Cancer Wives" Gingrich said something that I can agree with. I must immediately say that he said it sarcastically, as a kind of reductio ad absurdam. I don't mind, though; the Newtster's absurdam is my veritas. The subject was deadlines for withdrawal from Mesopotamia ...
I mean, if, if, if we have to set a deadline, then let’s set it for next Tuesday. Let’s get out of there.
Of course, a whole ton of nonsense and villainy followed. But at least we got a tiny gem of unintended truth first. I mean, as I type this, it's already "next Tuesday" in Iraq. Come on, guys -- grab your toothbrushes and your small arms and let's get on that plane!

Here's an Idea

From Matt Barganier at, an excellent suggestion for making the Republican presidential "debates" more efficient:
Clearly, there are too many candidates to give all of the different points of view a fair hearing. What to do? I suggest two podiums. Behind podium one, Ron Paul; behind podium two, the other nine, in an orderly, grade-school water-fountain line. After each question from the moderator, Ron Paul answers. In rebuttal, the other nine take turns howling “America, F*ck Yeah!“
Same content, better format. Why not?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sunday Morning on American Teevee

Yesterday, my wife and I skipped church. Now, I take blasphemy seriously, and so I don't want to suggest that I experienced divine punishment. Still, I was home at a time when I ordinarily wouldn't be, and the result was that I caught most of the appearance of John McCain -- GOP senator, pretender to the Imperial throne, and rabid dog-o-war -- on "Meet the Press." I kept looking up in shock at the nonsense I was pretty sure I'd just heard, and so was later moved to use the Modern Miracle of the Internets to obtain a transcript:
MR. RUSSERT: We've been talking to voters across the country, our NBC/Wall Street Journal poll: Is victory in Iraq still possible? Thirty-six percent say victory's possible; 55 percent say victory not possible. And look at this, senator. Was the war--was the war--was it a mistake to send troops? Fifty- eight percent say yes, a mistake; 40 percent say no. Are you surprised at those numbers?

SEN. McCAIN: Not too. Particularly on the issue of the second question, when we have experienced the enormous difficulties and sacrifice that have been part of this conflict that, certainly, you can understand that. Americans are frustrated, and they're saddened our failures in this conflict. My point is, and I'm sure we'll get into it, and that is we have a chance of success, and I don't think that a lot of Americans are as fully aware as they should be of the consequences of failure in Iraq.

MR. RUSSERT: When you were speaking in 2005, the American Enterprise Institute, you said this...

SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: "If we can't retain the support of the American people, we will have lost this war as soundly as if our forces were defeated on the battlefield." Haven't they lost the support of the American people?

SEN. McCAIN: I think if we can show the American people some successes in Iraq and continue and expand on some of the successes we've already experienced in Anbar province and some neighborhoods in Baghdad, that I think Americans would--and if we do a better job, and that's people like me, of explaining the consequences of failure.

The consequences of failure, Tim, are that there would be chaos in the region.
We interrupt our program for a message from our alternate sponsor, the sane world: "there would be chaos in the region?" What does this squirrel-cheeked clown think abounds in the region now -- peace and order?
There's three--two million Sunni in Baghdad. The Iranians would continue to increase their influence, the Saudis would have to help the Sunni, the Kurds would want independence, the Turks will never stand for it. Some people say partition. You'd have to partition bedrooms in Baghdad because Sunni and Shia are, are married. This, this is a very, very difficult situation, but the consequences of failure, in my view, are unlike the Vietnam war where we could leave and come home and it was over, that these people will try to follow us home and the region will erupt to a point where we may have to come back or we will be compating-- combating what is now, to a large degree, al-Qaeda, although certainly other--many other factors of sectarian violence, in the region.
Again, the Bushian cliche: "they'll follow us home." Is there really someone who thinks that the Wily Tur'r'st doesn't know how to find the United States without the rear guard of the legions to use as a guide? What withdrawing army of occupation did the 9/11 perpetrators follow to U.S. shores?
MR. RUSSERT: In hindsight, was it a good idea to go into Iraq?

SEN. McCAIN: You know, in hindsight, if we had exploited the initial success, which was shock and awe, and we succeeded, and we had done the right things after that, all of us would be applauding what we did. We didn't. It was terribly mismanaged. It was--I went over there very shortly after the initial victory and came back convinced that we didn't have enough troops on the ground, we were making the wrong decisions, and that Secretary Rumsfeld was badly mismanaging the conflict. And I spoke about it and complained for years. So, if we had succeeded and done the right thing after the initial military success, then all of us would be very happy that one of the most terrible, cruel dictators in history was removed from power. Now, because of our failures, obviously we have paid a very heavy price in American blood and treasure and a great sacrifice.

MR. RUSSERT: So it was a good idea to go in?

SEN. McCAIN: I think at the time, given the information we had. Every intelligence agency in the world, not just U.S., believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He had acquired and used them before. There was no doubt that he was going to acquire and use them if he could. The sanctions were breaking down. The Oil for Food scandal was in the billions of dollars. And, of course, at the time, given the information we had--hindsight is 20/20. If we'd have known we were going to experience the failures we experienced, obviously it would give us all pause. Yet the information and the knowledge and the situation at the time, I think that it was certainly justified.
If, if, if, given what we "knew" at the time ... guy sounds like the classic apologist for Marxism, being presented with the history of the USSR. Yes, but they didn't do it right ... Yeah, sure. You know, Senator, being the modest, reluctant-to-boast fellow that I am, it pains me to say that even I -- a lowly midwestern taxpaying mushroom -- had rather easily figured out, well in advance of both Gulf Wars, that they were not in any reasonable version of the "national interest" of America and should not be done. But no, we have a leading Republican contender for the presidential nomination telling us that, sure, those guys screwed up the war, but what we really need is more war, lots more war, with Mr. Leading Contender in charge this time. Think I'm being unfair to McCain about what he has in mind? Let's see what he thinks:
MR. RUSSERT: But under your plan, you're strongly suggesting we're going to be there for the next 10 years at least in order to secure and stabilize that country.

SEN. McCAIN: I am suggesting that we will have--hopefully reach a situation where American troops will not be on the front lines, where--and, by the way, that will not be immediately--where American troops are able to withdraw. We've had troops in South Korea for 60 years, and Americans are, are very satisfied with that situation. The key to it is, is the Iraqi military and police taking over these responsibilities. And that is, I believe, the ultimate way we're going to know whether we can reduce American casualties and they take over the responsibilities for, for governing their own country and militarily attacking and resisting al-Qaeda and other sectarian violence which will be there for a long, long time.

MR. RUSSERT: And we're going to be there for a long time.

SEN. McCAIN: But if it is--if it is--if it is only in a role that is of support and American casualties are minimal, then I think it's probably worth the investment. If the level of casualties stays where it is and we do not have success, then we know that that will be a, a condition that we cannot stand for.
I'm sorry to say that McCain has said something true here: apparently, we Americans must be "satisfied" that our armies have occupied Korea for two-thirds of a century, since we haven't stopped it. And, as a result, we have Certified National Leaders such as aspiring war-criminal-in-chief McCain who contemplate small experiments: hang out in Mesopotamia for a few more years, or decades, and see whether our "casualties" are relatively light or heavy before deciding if the investment strategy is sound. (I'm sure anything short of Vietnam levels will be characterized as "light.") Well, if you'd like just a few of your children or grandchildren to be slaughtered as a part of McCain's "light" trial investment, then you have your candidate.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hurrah! (Part II)

Speaking of bloggers who are "back," Cissy's back! She was never really gone, as I understand it ... it was just that one of the many user conveniences of Blogger had locked her out of her blog. But now I see that she has the key once more. Maybe she snuck in the window? Anyway, welcome back, Cissy!

Support the Troops ... Support Your Local Police.

Maybe it really is "a clash of civilizations," or at least a clash of the horrors that are left when civilization departs:
“This is your god!”

That profane outburst fell from the lips of Pfc. Damien M. Corsetti – aka “Monster,” aka “King of Torture” – as he straddled a helpless Saudi detainee in a Soviet-constructed Afghan prison. Corsetti had just threatened to rape the detainee, and the supposed deity he referred to was the appendage with which he would commit that act. At the time, said appendage was pressed against the prisoner's face.

This account was offered by a witness at Corsetti's court martial. That witness testified for the defense. As Eliza Griswold recounts in the current issue of The New Republic, the tribunal “cleared Corsetti of all charges. His lawyer successfully argued ... that the rules for detainee treatment were unclear: `The president of the United States doesn't know what the rules are. The secretary of defense doesn't know what the rules are. But the government expects this Pfc. to know what the rules are?'”

So – at the time of Corsetti's trial a year ago, the assumption was that sexual assault was considered a permissible interrogation tactic in the absence of a specific prohibition. He'd used the tactic before while working at Abu Ghraib: With the help of two comrades he forced an Iraqi woman to strip.

Why did he do this? Because he could.

There was no “rule” against it, after all – apart from the law written on the heart by the Creator, that is. But Corsetti, as we've seen, had his own theology. And because he was permitted by his superiors to ignore the moral law, Corsetti finished his military career with an “honorable” discharge.
Please -- go and read the whole piece. Follow the links. Even if we don't care about them dirty foreigners, it's way past time we figured out that the Empire's foreign and domestic faces are naturally going to be quite similar.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Are They Following, or Leading?

We've been warned by Our Glorious Wartime President that, if the legions are withdrawn from Mesopotamia, the turr'sts will "follow them home." So what's up with this, O Great Decider? Could it be that those dastardly Islamofascists already knew where the U.S. is located? They didn't have to wait to "follow us home," like so many deadly and sinister puppy-dogs? They already knew the way?

That's how it looks:
Six men have been arrested on charges of plotting to attack Fort Dix army base in the US state of New Jersey.

They allegedly planned to use automatic weapons "with the intention of killing as many US soldiers as possible", said the US Attorney's Office in New Jersey.

Four of the men were born in the former Yugoslavia, one in Jordan and one in Turkey, a spokesman said. He described the suspects as "Islamic radicals".

The six were due to appear in court in Camden, New Jersey, on Tuesday.

Some of the suspects were US citizens and others were illegal immigrants, said US Attorney's Office spokesman Michael Drewniak.

They will face charges of conspiracy to kill US servicemen.

"They were planning an attack on Fort Dix in which they would kill as many soldiers as possible," he said.

Five of the suspects lived in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, about 20 miles (32 km) south-west of Fort Dix, where they were arrested on Monday evening.

'Weapons training'

White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters there was "no direct evidence" that the men allegedly involved in the plot had links to international terror networks.

"They are not being charged with being members of an international terror organisation," he said.

"However, their involvement in weapons training, operational surveillance and discussions about killing American military personnel warranted a strong law enforcement response."

According to local media reports, the men had allegedly trained in weapons use over recent months in the Pocono Mountains area of north-eastern Pennsylvania.

The authorities have stressed that the alleged plot was stopped in the planning stage.

It is believed the men were arrested as part of an undercover FBI operation as they tried to buy AK-47 assault rifles from a local arms dealer.

A spokeswoman for the FBI said a news conference would be held later on Tuesday to discuss the arrests.

Fort Dix is used for military training, particularly for reservists.
Of course, we need to wait to see if this turns out to be another comedy deal, like the case of those desperados who were captured by our elite anti-terror operatives on the verge of blowing up the Sears Tower with rubber bands or firecrackers or something. But, supposing these guys are the real deal, I have to wonder: shouldn't the legions return now? After all, it's pretty difficult to "fight them over there" when they're not over there.

It may also turn out that those "Islamic radicals" (al-Qaeda of Cherry Hill, NJ?) were simply trying to insure world peace by effecting regime change here in the U.S., where a criminal junta is known to possess weapons of mass destruction, and has a proven record of many international aggressions, including the unprovoked invasions of countries half the globe away. After all, they could hardly be expected to wait for the smoking gun to show up, perhaps in the form of a mushroom cloud, could they?

O Mighty Chimperor, I'm feeling very unsafe! Please, sir, start reading my e-mails! (Oh, that's right, you're already doing that.) Please start tapping my phone! (Uh ... yeah ... that too, I guess.) Please, come and take my firearms away! Implement randomly-located, airport-style search-and-grope checkpoints in as many public places as possible! Demand to see my papers -- they're in order! -- everywhere. Only then can I start to feel secure.

Or maybe just invade Iran. That might do the trick.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Grace Nearing is back, both here and here! I frequently disagree with her, but she does her own thinking and is a wonderfully good writer. Definitely recommended for your daily reading.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

It's a Wrap

I just submitted my course grades for this spring's edition of Physics 219. My students really came through strongly on the final exam. That was gratifying ... and, I'll have to admit, a little surprising.

Time to start thinking about the upcoming fall semester. There's only about 16 weeks 'til the start of classes. I'd better start laying out the schedule and the syllabus.

"Your Proposal is Accepted"

I just caught a few minutes of the presidential candidates' "debate" featuring the GOP Caucus of the War Party. There was John "Psycho" McCain, promising to follow the current incarnation of evil -- Osama bin Laden -- "to the gates of Hell."

Yep, he promised. And remember, this is the pilot of the Straight Talk Express. So you know he meant it.

McCain departing for the gates of Hell ... yes, I think that's an idea with some merit. Wonder if he needs anyone to help him pack his bags?

Adios, senator.