Jack Rabbit's Warren - Archives
Visualize this headline . . .
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
Returns $5 on each southbound vehicle!
Buy now and we'll toss in for a low, low price
Beachfront Property by the
Sea of Tranquiluity
and your very own
Pet US Senator
How much would you pay for bargains like these?
The following consumer products are manufactured by Koch Industries:
Georgia-Pacific paper and wood products:
If you're buying any of these consumer products, you're wrong.
Koch Industries also manufactures other products. Please check their website and see if your business runs afoul of American social progress by supporting corporate fascism.
Let's boycott these Birch-backgrounded bastards
From the BBC
Dated Monday, February 21
Gene Sharp: Author of the nonviolent revolution rulebook
By Ruaridh Arrow
This is Dr Gene Sharp the man now credited with the strategy behind the toppling of the Egyptian government.
Gene Sharp is the world's foremost expert on non-violent revolution. His work has been translated into more than 30 languages, his books slipped across borders and hidden from secret policemen all over the world.
As Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia and Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine fell to the colour revolutions which swept across Eastern Europe, each of the democratic movements paid tribute to Sharp's contribution, yet he remained largely unknown to the public.
Despite these successes and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2009 he has faced almost constant financial hardship and wild accusations of being a CIA front organisation. The Albert Einstein Institution based on the ground floor of his home is kept running by sheer force of personality and his fiercely loyal Executive Director, Jamila Raqib.
I just came across this while researching the report that Brother Colonel has booked.
We need to look into some of these ideas and examine how they can be applied to the resistance to American corporate fascism in its own backyard, as well as to American corporate imperialism
To me, soon turning 60, the sixties are not a time to look back on nostalgically for lost youth; the sixties represent my generation's unfinished business. The sixties have come alive again in the last few weeks in Tunis, Cairo, Tripoli and Madison, Wisconsin.
Democracy, where all citizens are equal, is an American value. The French Revolution was inspired by the American Revolution and remains akin to it. Nonviolence is our national revolutionary tactic. All power to The People.
I don't know about capitalism per se, but I believe the US is about to go the way of the Soviet Unio
We very nearly didn't survive the Bush super-recession and we aren't anywhere near out of the woods yet. We needed much more reform than we got, thanks largely to GOP nihilism, to President Obama's failure to properly respond to their obstructionism, and to opposition from crooked Democrats who took corporate money and played ball they way they wanted it played.
So what we have is a House controlled by the very people who want to return to policies that failed disastrously from 2001 to 2008. Gridlock is the best we can expect of the situation, and gridlock is still something we cannot afford. As a nation, we will not survive that.
I admit to being part of the failure myself. I voted for Obama thinking he could drive through the reform that needed. Of course, it's a tall order to ask anyone to be FDR, but nothing less was demanded by the crisis. Unfortunately, Barack Obama was not up to the task.
Corporations may be artificial persons, but they are the real tyrants of our time. Look it up in Plato's Republic if you don't believe me. Plato said that a tyrant is one whose appetites rule him rather than he controlling his appetites, that the tyrant would respect nothing sacred, no code of honor and no relationship to friend or parent if any of that stood between him and the satisfaction of his appetites. Uncontrolled his appetites become insatiable. The corporation that plays dangerously and irresponsible in the market with other people's money and expects the taxpayers to fork it over when it gets in over its head fits this model to a T.
It is time to overthrow these tyrants. Large corporations must either be reined in or dismantled. If Declaration of Independence declares that the people have the right to alter or abolish a form of government that is destructive to the ends of life and liberty, then the people have as much right to dismantle too-powerful, self-serving economic entities as to behead a king who thinks he can rule like a god. Corporations, and more to the point the people who run them, shall be held accountable for the damage then have to the environment, to the economy and to the common people themselves.
To the useful fools of the corporatacracy, such as Dennis Prager, who said that equality is not an American value, I say that equality is the root principle of all that is American. To those fools who, like Rush Limbaugh, propose to disenfranchise poor citizens of their right to participate in the political system, I say that that no law passed by a state as unrepresentative of its people as you would make the America of your warped, twisted dreams is worthy of the respect you would expect of its subjects. Only a police state can maintain such an order, and we will have none of that. To those fools who assert that America is a mere republic and not a democracy, I say that is a deficiency that we will soon remedy.
Of course, as a patriotic American who hates propaganda and lies, this is what I'd really like to see on the New York Post:
From the Jack Rabbit News Service
Dated Friday, September 17
Diogenes Endorses Coons, Rips O’Donnell
By Jack Rabbit
Diogenes of Sinope, the famous Greek philosopher, has thrown his endorsement to Democratic candidate Chris Coons in the US Senate race in Delaware, denouncing Christine O’Donnell, Coons’ Republican opponent, as a "customary prude" and an "enemy of nature."
Diogenes was interviewed at his home behind the Agora
The colorful philosopher announced his endorsement of Coons during an interview in his home, a wooden tub located behind the Agora, the marketplace in Athens, where he settled after being exiled from his native Sinope on the coast of the Black Sea in Asia Minor, now known as Sinop, Turkey.
"You Americans – well, not all of you, I am an admirer of your Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg – are really hung up on your unfortunate Puritan past," said Diogenes. "You people are really too hung up on looking for evil in natural behavior, where it could not possibly exist," he continued. "It’s no wonder your prisons are so full when you have laws against smoking marijuana and certain kinds of sexual behavior. If this nutty lady is elected to your Senate, will she propose legislation that would sick the FBI on all of you to inspect your bed sheets every morning?"
Diogenes was clearly making reference to Ms. O’Donnell's remarks equating masturbation with adultery.
Diogenes, who espouses a philosophy he calls cynicism, from a Greek word meaning "dog-like," is most famous walking the streets while carrying a lantern claiming to be looking for an honest man and not able to find one. On another occasion, he was arrested for masturbating in public. He told authorities, "If only it were as easy to assuage hunger by rubbing your stomach."
Read more at the link.
The Rev. Mr. Jones is a vile, hateful man. Few Americans condone what he will do Saturday.
There is nothing we can do to stop him. There is nothing Mr. Crist, the Governor of Florida, can do to stop him. There is nothing President Obama can do to stop him. The American Constitution guarantees the Rev. Mr. Jones free speech to say any idiotic, hateful thing he would like and to express it as he pleases as long as he violates no law. It is not against the law to burn a book. We Americans believe that a government that could stop vile men like the Rev. Mr. Jones from burning the Koran could prevent Muslims or people of any other faith from worshiping as they choose.
If you think that this is a dark underbelly of American freedom, then I agree with you. So do many Americans. However, we believe that it is best for government to keep away from religion, even if that allows the Rev. Mr. Jones to insult a billion and half Muslims and, indeed, all people of good will anywhere and everywhere.
We, as a people, have pleaded with the Rev. Mr. Jones not to go through with this act. We have presented him with good reasons why he should not go through with this act. Unfortunately, he is deaf to reason and common standards of civility.
Please be aware that when this ignorant man pours gasoline onto a pile of copies of your sacred text and throw a match on it Saturday, more Americans of all faiths or no faith at all will be standing with you than with him. Let us together raise a cry against this act that will be heard in Heaven Itself. To burn anyone's sacred text -- Koran, Bible, Torah, Upanishads, the Tao Te Ching or the most sacred Sutras of Buddhism -- is an act of sacrilege. Let us together join hands in brotherhood, with our hearts linked in a chain so long that is will be seen even beyond Heaven. Such an act of human brotherhood is the greatest praising of God we can do together.
EDITED for my devilishly bad typing.
Please click here (run time 50 minutes).
Monty Python alumnus Terry Jones presents ancient history painlessly as he discusses the gap between rich and poor in first century Rome. It sounds like today's Wall Street Journal.
The exchange on ABC television Sunday morning between Liz Cheney, lawyer and daughter of one of the most corrupt politicians in American history, and Arianna Huffington, who nowadays is a liberal reformist after first coming to our attention as the in 1992 as the stylish, conservative Christian wife of a wealthy and not-very-bright politician transplanted from Texas to California for whom there was no problem couldn’t be solved by cutting taxes, told us a lot about the continued efforts by the unlamented past Bush administration and it allies to rehabilitate the worst administration in history. Ms. Cheney is a grade-A liar who constructs arguments devoid of facts while telling us that “we need to look at the facts.”
In the past, Ms. Cheney has told us, “Waterboarding is not torture.” She says it as a matter of fact, as if no one can dispute it. She simply ignores the very facts that she says we should look at: that waterboarding has been around for centuries and was used by the Spanish Inquisition to elicit confessions from accused witches and heretics, a fact that in itself tells us a lot about the kind of reliable and accurate information one gets using this or other “enhanced interrogation techniques”; that it puts the subject in a situation where he believes his death is imminent; that it can, in fact, kill the victim if it is done incorrectly. Moreover, it provides the interrogators no reliable information, in spite of their claims to the contrary, claims that are never supported by evidence beyond dispute.
Ms. Cheney has no credibility.
Now Ms. Cheney tells us that neither the Bush/Cheney administration nor its industry allies bears any responsibility for the Gulf spill after dismantling the regulatory system that was designed to keep offshore drilling safe, or at least safer than it actually is today as a result of that dismantling. She ignores that during the Bush/Cheney years, regulators signed off on safety inspections that weren't, yet this is what is on the record for the present administration to check. She ignores how MMS was literary in bed with the oil companies and their lobbyists. Yes, she is right that the Obama administration bears at least some responsibility for the spill -- but no one will catch her saying that the first thing the Obama administration did wrong was to rely on Bush/Cheney era safety inspections reports.
Ms. Cheney's charge that Ms. Huffington "lives on another planet" for calling Halliburton "the poster child of Bush/Cheney crony capitalism" is nothing more than the absurd rhetoric of a shyster. Ms. Cheney's father was the criminal mastermind of the Bush/Cheney years and the past CEO of Halliburton. While Vice President, Mr. Cheney cleared the way for an unnecessary war in Iraq and for no-bid contracts to Halliburton in the wake of the war, the execution of which by Halliburton was frequently criticized by impartial observers. I can no more blame Ms. Cheney for defending what remains, if anything, of her father's reputation any more than I can blame Julie Nixon Eisenhower's defense of her father in the wake of the Watergate scandal. However, I can blame her for lies and smears she tells in her defense. With Mrs. Eisenhower, it was as simple as she believed her father because he was her father. She never crossed any line that Ms. Cheney crosses every time she opens her mouth.
The record of the Bush/Cheney years was one long story of government fraud and waste (never mind murder and torture). One might suppose that there are more falsehoods in the reports filed in the years 2001-2008 and January 2009 than there are accurate facts, especially in the records of the MMS. It can be understood that the Obama administration doesn't want to look under every rock and termite-infested board for corruption or prosecute every case of willful fraud -- the justice department doesn't have that kind of manpower. Nevertheless, it would help if the administration starts with the assumption that records from the past administration are inaccurate before proceeding to take action or make policy. I know that's a lot of work.
Of course, it is not a good precedent for an incoming administration, especially one from the opposition party, to withhold from the previous administration the benefit of the doubt as to its integrity. But the Bush/Cheney administration had no integrity. Even its very claim to power was suspect to say the least. Intelligence reports were cherry picked to build a false case for war against Iraq. Torture was mandated and only unsubstantiated and very doubtful claims of its utility have been advanced to justify it. US Attorneys were fired for not filing fraudulent cases and replaced with political hacks; a former state chief executive remains in prison, convicted on dubious charges after a dubious trail, while the US Attorneys who engineered the case remain in office and the nominations their replacements are held up in the Senate. Secret meetings were held with Mr. Cheney and energy company executives, of which no record of who attended or who proposed what or even what was discussed, but the result was the Bush/Cheney energy policy, a policy that would sell more fossil fuel and postpone development of clean, renewable sources while dismissing conservation as anything more than "a personal virtue."
We may add that government regulators in the MMS were sleeping with and snorting cocaine with representatives of the industry they were supposed to regulate. This is a very serious charge. It is well substantiated. Still, it is nowhere near as shocking as the litany of crimes and malfeasance rattled off in the last paragraph. We may also add that oil industry representatives penciled in the safety reports for offshore platforms that government regulators wrote over in ink. Proper safety inspections were not performed. Yet the record shows they were performed.
The industry representatives who knowingly paid for this corruption, including those in corporate suites, need to go to jail. The government employees who aided and abetted this fraud, to include cabinet officers and elected officials, need to go to jail. However, sending them to jail or giving their written reports scrutiny won't save one brown pelican, it won't save the shrimp industry in Louisiana, it won't save the wetlands on the Gulf coast. It won't stop the disaster from spreading to the Florida Keys and the Atlantic Ocean.
It will, we can only hope, shut the barn door to keep those cows that are still there inside.
There are racists and there are ideologues. All white supremacists are, in a crude kind of way, ideologues. Not all ideologues are racists. To jump to the point, Rand Paul, the GOP candidate for the US Senate in Kentucky, is an ideologue, not a racist.
Let's define a term first. An ideologue is someone who clings to an ideal so rigorously that it defies the boundaries of common sense or pragmatism. The ideal could be a racial ideal, in which the ideologue clings to the notion that there is natural hierarchy based on race (usually with his own at the top of the food chain). Of course, it's easy to see where this leads. In spite of the existence of genius in many colors, these ideologues will exclude the genius of George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela simply because the ideologue holds that no person of sub-Saharan African descent can possess genius. The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming, but that doesn't bother the ideologue.
Dr. Paul is a libertarian. The watchword for libertarians of his kind is freedom. What is call the tea party movement largely grew from the 2008 presidential candidacy of Dr. Paul's father, Texas congressman Ron Paul. Unlike the tea partiers who jumped on the bandwagon with the astroturfing of the movement since President Obama's inaguration, the Pauls can tell you what freedom means to them. It has nothing to do with the "freedom" of members of one "superior" race to rule over all other people, but the freedom to start a business and run it as one sees fit with as little government interference as possible.
Unlike the astroturf tea partiers, whose numbers reak of racism, the Pauls and most other libertarians are not racists. In fact, I've had many libertarian friends in my life and, if they are any indication, very few libertarians are racists.
Dr. Paul's remarks to Rachel Maddow came as no surprise to me. Although he would not answer the question, he most certainly would give Woolworth's the right to put up a "Whites Only" sign in front of their lunch counters. And then he would boycott Woolworth's. That is the same answer I would have gotten from any of my libertarian friends.
Dr. Paul believes that businessmen make rational decisions, and that it is clearly irrational to subject one's business to organized boycotts while at the same time cutting oneself off from a considerable slice of the market by refusing to do business with it. Even if a businessman doesn't like the color of somebody's skin, there is nothing wrong with the color of his money as long as it's green. Therefore, as Dr. Paul sees it, the businessman will do business with people for whom he has an irrational prejudice because it is the rational (i.e., profitable) thing to do.
Of course, businessmen do make irrational decisions. If they didn't, Woolworth's would never have had a whites only policy at its lunch counters and Lester Maddox would have let his ax handle lay idle. I don't agree with Dr. Paul's views on the Civil Act of 1964, but I've never had a discussion about this with a libertarian where the victims of discrimination were disparaged.
Rand Paul is not a racist. He is an ideologue. I am much more concerned with his remarks about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a current problem, than I am about his remarks about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which he concedes is now settled law. The undersea blow out is not an "accident"; it is carelessness. Does Dr. Paul think there is any role for government to play in enforcing common-sense safety procedures? Or does BP (not to mention Shell, ExxonMoble, Standard Oil or Conoco) have the right to enforce its own safety rules, which may be subject to cutting costs? Is Dr. Paul's solution to boycott BP into submission? I'm certainly not against that, but it seems to me that what is happening in the Gulf is a crime. Other people, who have no connection to the oil industry other than to use its products, have had their livelihoods destroyed at least for now. There aren't very many of us who are going to eat Louisiana shrimp if it smells like an oil refinery.
Dr. Paul believes we shouldn't be so hard on BP. The free market is the American ideal of freedom to Dr. Paul. Never mind that we've seen how an unbridled, unregulated free market works and that it isn't pretty. Far from being rational, it is self destructive. Yet Dr. Paul, the ideologue, would march America and the world off a cliff in the name of that kind of freedom. That is what an ideologue is. An ideologue is not a rational thinker. In fact, it is just as irrational to destroy the earth in the name of freedom and right to pursue profits as it is to refuse to sell to paying customers because they are of the wrong skin color, religious faith or because if some other incidental feature about them. That is why Dr. Paul should be defeated in November.
Over the last 15 months, the Republican congressional and senatorial delegations have proven themselves to be a herd of wild asses. They are simply unfit to govern a democratic state.
The most disgusting thing they did was not opposing health care reform, but lying about it day in and day out and otherise being so uncivil with not just the politicians but even ordinary citizens who do not agree with them. There are no "death panels" authorized in this bill. Illegal immigrants are explicitly excluded. Abortion was never a part of this package. They lied about all of that and lied loudly. Some of the astroturf "plain folks" they sent out last summer even went so far as to compare President Obama to Hitler.
This is not a government takeover. Health insurance companies are still in business. If you ask me, that's a big part of what's wrong with the bill. After years of dropping coverage for those who become ill, jacking up rates and lining the pockets of crooked politicians (a bipartisan group if there ever was one), it wouldn't have bothered me in the least to see a Medicare for All proposal become law and replace these rackets with the government. Private health insurance companies are the spokes of a fifth wheel over one sixth of the American economy. It wouldn't be one sixth of the economy if those racketeers weren't lining their own pockets with money earned from inefficiency and waste.
This bill was far from perfect. A single-payer public system is still a proposition devoutly to be wished.
The tactics of the Republicans and the corporate lobbyists was abominable. They organized and sent lowlifes to town hall meetings for the purpose of disrupting them. Democracy is supposed to be about open, public discourse of civic affairs. The Republican Party and the health insurance industry formed an unholy alliance to shut down any public discussion of health care reform. The racism expressed by those who made up these astroturf mobs caused many to think they should have been dressed in white hooded robes. The very nature of their tactics suggested a fit uniform for each of them would have been a brown shirt and jackboots.
I bristle whenever I hear Mr. Boehner point to the astroturf mobs and claim that they merely expressed American public opinion. What nonsense! There was no widespread, grassroots opposition to health care reform at any time. A grassroots movement is not funded by corporate lobbyists like Americans for Prosperity or FreedomWorks. If there were polls showing that Americans rejected the bill, it was because a few crooked politicians in the Democratic Party or its Senate caucus, having increased leverage because the Republicans would not even consider voting for any bill backed by Obama's White House, succeeded in watering down the bill by taking away the public option and providing for an individual mandate to buy health insurance from the private racketeers. In other words, if Americans rejected this bill, it was because it was too weak, not because they rejected health care reform. Mr. Boehner's purpose was stop reform and propose nothing in its place, leaving the untenable status quo to continue; when he implied that Americans were opposed to health care reform, he was lying.
If the Republicans had opposed the bill based on what was in the bill, that would have been another matter. That is how it is supposed to be done. But they didn't do that. They didn't want to give the American people an opportunity to have an honest public discussion on the bill. Their astroturf mobs shouted down speakers at town hall meetings who wanted a public discussion and told a pack of lies in place of real information. That was last summer. This week, they spat on congressmen, called one a "nigger" and another a "faggot," and attacked a man with a degenerative neurological disorder, Parkinson's disease, and an eleven-year-old boy whose mother died because she was denied access to health care, who simply exercised their right speak out in favor of health care reform.
A political ally of Margaret Thatcher once said that the Tories would have to remain in power until Labour was sane enough to govern again. So must the Democrats remain in power until the Republicans are sane enough to govern again. When they have the courage to support or oppose a measure without lying about it, as they did during the Iraq War or about health care reform, and just discuss the real issues surrounding any given topic; when they are not appealing to the racist or homophobic fears of the ignorant; when they can accept opposition as sincere and heartfelt rather than question the opponent's patriotism or otherwise impugn the motives of the opponent; when they become less ideological and more pragmatic and can admit that an unregulated marketplace will descend into an orgy of greed and corruption, that a free market solution is not always the best solution and that government is not necessarily a "problem."
It has become clear in the last few months that the GOP has a long ways to go before it is sane enough to return to power. It would be a mistake for American voters to reward such malfeasance and dishonesty by giving the Republicans significant gains in Congress or in state governments.
Objecting to a stutue to be erected in Milwaukee to honor Baseball Commission Bud Selig
Bud Selig ended the era of the independent commissioner that began when Judge Landis was made the first Commissioner of Baseball in the wake of the Black Sox scandal of 1919. This was in a failed attempt to break the players' union, a movement led by Selig, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and others.
The Selig-Reinsdorf coup over baseball took place in 1992 when Commissioner Fay Vincent was ousted and Selig named by the owners as acting commissioner. The owners left Selig in power in this "acting" capacity until 1998, never seriously entertaining any to return the office of the commissioner to an independent person who would make decisions for the overall good of baseball, not the overall good of the owners. What Selig, Reinsdorf and the others had against Vincent is that Vincent enforced rules against collusion on them when they attempted the rig the free agent market to force players to accept lower salaries.
Never mind the DH, artificial turf or even the Black Sox scandal itself, the coup of the owners against the commissioner's office was the worst thing that ever happened to baseball. Selig canceled the 1994 World Series rather than settle the players' strike, which by that time had become an owners' lockout. Fortunately, a court ruling brought the owners' anti-labor scheme to an end. He lifted the life time ban of Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, who was suspended by Vincent for associating with gamblers and, ironically, is largely responsible for the out-of-control salary structure that Selig and Reinsdorf found so disturbing. Meanwhile, Pete Rose, suspended for gambling by Vincent's predecessor, Bart Giamatti, complained of getting no such consideration from Selig. Worst of all, Selig presided over the era of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, doing nothing to stop it since juiced up players hitting home runs was so good for the owners' bottom lines.
If any one wonders what America will look like once corporate bosses start treating politicians like their personal employees to an even greater extent than they do now, one can look at the sordid history of baseball in the Selig era. If Selig deserves a statue to honor his contribution to baseball, then the image of George W. Bush should adorn Mount Rushmore.
Marshall McLuhan said we go into the future looking through a rear view mirror. We go into the unknown making references to what is known that don't quite fit the new situation. Thus, for many of us, Bush, the presidential usurper with authoritarian tendencies, was equal to Hitler, a real totalitarian monster. That doesn't really work. Bush was not a mass murderer but a thief. He came to power by one and possibly two stolen presidential elections and then lied to the entire world in order to commit American resources to an unprovoked invasion and an imperialist occupation of Iraq. The idea was simply to put Iraq's natural resources, mainly its oil, in the hands of western corporations, not to murder every Iraqi on whom he could lay his hands. Hitler, for his part, did not usurp power. He was named Chancellor by German President von Hindenburg in the normal constitutional process for the Wiemar Republic. I also liked to point out, in a dig not only to Bush's rise to power but all facets of his entire life, that Hitler, unlike Bush, was a self-made man.
Now that President Obama has made the decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan, we see comparisons on DU to the Bush and Cheney regime, who saw no problem to which they did not think the solution was to drop bombs, launch missiles and send in the Marines. Such a comparison is, to use a technical term, a load of crap.
First of all, no one should expect President Obama to start asserting power he doesn't have, as Bush and Cheney did. Bush and Cheney interpreted the Commander-in-chief clause of the Constitution as giving the President carte blanche to commit the United States to war as he sees fit, unbridled by either congressional action, or, in the case of the usurping Bush-Cheney regime, facts or common sense. Also, President Obama is going to keep Congress informed, unlike Bush and Cheney, who treated the legislative branch in general and its opposition members in particular as most of us would treat an inflamed appendix. President Obama knows he'll have to withdraw from Afghanistan if Congress votes to cut funding for the effort. In the case of Bush and Cheney, Speaker Pelosi would have had to put impeachment back on the table first.
OK, I'm disappointed at the President's decision. I hope I'm wrong, but I think Afghanistan is already a lost cause and was long before January when President Obama was inaugurated. There is no way Karzai can keep his government weak enough to protect his brother's drug cartel and at the same time be strong enough to fight the Taliban. Karzai may be an American tool, but he's still a tool that doesn't work for the purpose intended.
Still, I do not believe that the President is using the war on terror to promote ulterior motives. For Bush and Cheney, that's all it was, which is why his statements about the importance of catching Osama varied with the phases of the moon. Osama and his lieutenants can be captured and it's hard to see why the President would need 35,000 more troops and three years to accomplish that. Even the incompetents Bush and Cheney nearly accomplished that in a matter of weeks.
There is the matter of Pakistan and nuclear proliferation. That was another matter that didn't seem to concern the Frat Boy or the Big Dick very much, but should have concerned them and thankfully does concern President Obama. The idea of a right wing Islamist regime in control of Pakistan supplying right wing Islamist terrorists with the ability to make a small scale nuclear device for the purpose of carrying out hits on soft targets wherever they choose is not a future to which we should acquiesce so easily. That may be worth committing blood and treasure to prevent, but if that's the idea then Obama is not sending the troops on a clear mission by sending them to Afghanistan to keep the Pakistani government propped up in order to withstand threats from right wing Islamists seeking to take control of the government and that government's nuclear arsenal by force. Nor do I see a possibility of the Pakistani government gaining any popular support by sending an SOS to Washington requesting that US troops in Afghanistan be redeployed to Pakistan to fight these right wing rebels.
Perhaps I don't understand is that if we created the Taliban by sending them weapons to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan why we can't defeat them by arming their enemies now. That comes back to Karzai being the wrong tool. Some time in the next three years I see a coup d'etat in Afghanistan, just as there was one in South Vietnam in 1963 to replace the crooked and tyrannical Ngo brothers just months prior to the major escalation of the war by the United States.
The US had relative success in South Korea at the cost of supporting authoritarian leaders, the best of which, Park Chung Hee, was not the kind of man any American who doesn't call himself a tea bagger would want as president. Otherwise, the Ngo were followed in South Vietnam by a series of embarrassingly clownish and short-lived military governments mostly led by General Nguyen Khan, then a fairly stable but unpopular regime led by Air Marshall Nguyen Cao Ky and finally a president who won a rigged election, Nguyen Van Thieu. That was a disaster. In Iraq, Bush and Cheney made no pretense that the invasion was any thing other than colonial piracy by appointing an American, Paul Bremer, as "administrator" of Iraq. Apart from the fact that Bremer's presence showed that Bush and Cheney were spreading democracy to Iraq like the British spread it India, Bremer made the very kind of stupid moves, such as dismantling the Iraqi army, for which Bush and Cheney were famous by going into Iraq in the first place, blowing the cover of a key CIA operative in a political vendetta against her husband, the firing of US Attorneys for refusing to bring trumped up charges against Democratic voters and office holders and generally being asleep at the wheel during disasters whether it was natural like Hurricane Katrina or man-made like the Wall Street meltdown.
War has not worked well as a policy tool for my country. Count me opposed to the President's Afghan policy and disappointed that he has gone this route. But please, please, please, don't compare him to Bush. It may be a bad decision, but it's it was still arrived at by better means and for better reasons than Bush or Cheney could imagine. President Obama is not Bush and Cheney. To say he is try to go into the future while looking though the rear-view mirror.
EDITED for typing.
Professor John Yoo, one of the architects of the Bush regime's policy toward detainees in the war on terror, wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal today condemning President Obama's decision to close the detainee facility at Guantánamo Naval Base and to end the policy of torture, called "enhanced interrogation techniques" by Yoo and other members of the regime and by their cheerleaders in the right wing punditocracy.
Mr. Yoo argues:
First of all, I don't view those lawyers, including Professor Yoo, who advised Mr. Bush on what is legal concerning detainees, so much as bona fide legal advisors as co-conspirators with Bush and Cheney to trash the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture. Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, Jay Bybee and others should be prosecuted for war crimes along with Bush and Cheney. The legal reason is too spurious to take seriously. Their mission was to give the former regime legal cover by redefining torture in a way that waterboarding would not be torture, when no reasonable person would say otherwise.
Yoo's pleas that Guantánamo remain open that torture continue are based on the dubious propositions that civilian courts are insufficient to keep us safe from terrorism and that torture works. To the first proposition I offer the trial and conviction of José Padilla as a refutation. Try as they might, Bush and his legal henchmen could not keep American citizen Padilla from being tried in federal court for terrorist-related charges. Padilla had his day in court and was convicted. It would appear to me that an ordinary federal court was quite sufficient to keep the American public safe from Mr. Padilla. Mr. Yoo also compares the Guantánamo detainees to pirates, "illegal combatants who do not fight on behalf of a nation and refuse to obey the laws of war." However, this is a false analogy. A pirate, when captured on the high seas, is charged with a crime and brought to court to face trial. Here, he enjoys the rights of due process. On the other hand, Guantánamo detainees are denied due process, including the right to be charged with a crime. Most detainees were never charged with any crime. Indeed, the purpose of Guantánamo was to violate the human rights of the detainees to a fair trial and any protection against torture or other harsh or humiliating interrogation techniques.
As for torture itself, which Mr. Yoo defends along with such erudite spokesmen of the lunatic fringe as Sean Hannity, not only is it universally condemned as cruel, but it doesn't work. A subject being tortured will likely say anything to get his interrogators to stop. Consequently, nothing a torture victim says should be taken at face value. That includes Khalid Sheik Mohammad, who confessed to being the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks but to a number of other schemes, some never carried out. It also includes Ibn al Shaykh al Libbi, who under interrogation by waterbording in 2002 told investigators that the Iraqi government trained al Qaida members to use biochemical weapons. We know now that this is not true, yet by falling back on this kind of "information", the Bush regime cited as a fact the working relationship between Saddam's regime and Osama's terror network. The only thing torture worked for in this instance was telling neoconservatives what they wanted to hear, which were talking points and not necessarily facts. Bush and the neocons didn't care about the facts. They were lying and they knew they were lying when they told us they had reliable information about Saddam's weapons and his ties to al Qaida. Like the legal memoranda approving torture itself, the intelligence gained by torture was suspect at best and worthless at worst.
Speaking about sources we should not take at face value, we have only the word of former Bush regime spokesmen such as Professor Yoo and Mr. Cheney and sycophants like Sean Hannity that valuable information was gained by harsh interrogation techniques. Against this is an article by journalist David Rose that appeared in December's Vanity Fair that states counterterrorist officials on both sides of the Atlantic conclude unanomously that "coercive methods" failed to provide "significant levels of actionable intelligence." Moreover, in the specific case of Khalid Sheik Mohammad, Rose quotes a senior Pentagon analyst as saying, "K.S.M. produced no actionable intelligence. He was trying to tell us how stupid we were."
Mr. Yoo shouldn't tell the public the kind of nonsense that appears today under his by-line in The Wall Street Journal. He should save it for the judge.
Jack Rabbit is a poet and essayist in the Sacramento Valley, California.
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