Saturday, January 20, 2007

Will Iran become Bush's "Eastern Front?"

In an article published in today's NYTimes titled "Leading Senator Assails President Over Iran Stance," Sen. John D. Rockefeller Iv, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wars that the Administration is getting ever closer to a military confrontation with Iran:

Mr. Rockefeller was biting in his criticism of how President Bush has dealt with the threat of Islamic radicalism since the Sept 11 attacks, saying he believed that the campaign against international terrorism was "still a mystery" to the president.

I don't think he understands the world, Mr. Rockefeller said. "I don't think he's particularly curious about the world. I don't think he reads like he says he does.
That is, in a nutshell, the reason the Administration's policies have served to promote rather than combat terrorism.

The arrogance and petulance displayed by Cheney-Bush and their neoconservative cohorts in their dealings with the rest of the world are in and by themselves a barrier that inevitably leads to growing resentment and hatred that translates into growing terrorism.

While it is true that the Administration's policies are largely devised by Cheney and his neoconservative buddies, the ultimate responsibility for the irresponsibility of these war mongers and their right-wing Israeli cohorts rests with Bush.

Some Democrats have suggested that Mr. Bush's speech was the beginning of a meticulously choreographed campaign to demonize Iran, much the way the administration built its public case against Iraq.
There is every indication that the Administration has indeed decided to engage in this process much as it did before dragging our nation into an unprovoked war in Iraq that resulted in such an enormous failure.

Fortunately, control of Congress has reverted into Democratic hands. One can only hope that they can stop the nuts sitting in the White House from wreaking more havoc around the globe...before it is too late.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The latest diplomatic effort by Bushites...

The latest diplomatic effort by Bushites seems specifically designed to drag the whole region into major sectarian conflicts.

Fear mongering is, once again, at the very core of the strategy adopted by Cheney-Bush-neocons as they proceed with their "surge" in U.S. troops in Iraq, a surge that will, most likely, lead to an even larger civil war.

In fact, the latest diplomatic efforts in the region, if implemented, would drag Iraq's neighbors into civil wars that have yet to unfold.

Given the failur of the Cheney-Bush-neocon plan to restructure the Middle East in their image, a new approach is seemingly in the works that would transform the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a Palestinian-Palestinian civil war and the Arab/Muslim-U.S./Israeli conflict into a Sunni-Shiite confrontation encompassing the whole region.

That seems to be the message Condi Rice is charged with in her present visit to the region, albeit not one that will be spelled out overtly to her hosts or promulgated publicly.

It will be interesting to note the reaction of so-called moderate states to her plan, as she points out the growing influence of Iran in the region in an attempt to drag Sunni majority nations such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait into the mess Bushites triggered in Iraq.

Should she succeed in her efforts, it won't take long for the whole region to go up in flames with dire consequences for the world at large given the reliance of industrialized nation on oil imports from the region.

Desperate Administration officials are well aware that time is running out for them to claim "victory in their unprovoked war, given that support is at an all time low and...rapidly dropping.

Consequently, rather that withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, they are seemingly willing to drag the whole region into their mess, regardless of consequences.

As Bush has said repeatedly, actions taken today will be judged in historical terms as having been "necessary to bring "democracy" to the region. The fact that for democracy to flourish it must grow from within, is totally ignored by the right-wing powers-that-be.

The fact that U.S. meddling in the Middle East is almost universally resented and rejected is also immaterial as far as U.S./Israeli leaders are concerned.

There is, of course, a rational course of action but it is not one that right-wingers are likely to pursue:

a) allow the establishment of a viable Palestinian state with E. Jerusalem as its capital in order to remove a major bone of contention in the region; b) take unilateral steps (to accelerate the process) to disengage from the West Bank and remove all roadblocks so that Palestinians can see progress and demand an end to attacks on Israel by extremists; c) engage in direct talks with friend and foe alike (Iran and Syria) given that leaders in the region react positively when treated with respect and negatively when treated as "evildoers;" d) withdraw U.S. troops from Arab/Muslim lands given that their presently is a major source of resentment (how would we like foreign troops stationed in, say, TX, CA, ND and VA?); e) stop comparing the present situation to the 1930s and WWII at which time nukes were non-existent and the U.S. was not in a position to respond with overwhelming force, if necessary.

Yes, I am well aware that individuals who suffer from greed and paranoia are not likely to take such a rational course of action. After all, to do so they would have to answer the question "why do they hate us?" honestly, something they are not willing to do.

Instead, their hypocritical stance and double standards will continue to breed ever-growing contempt from the world at large.

Reminder: You can NOT fool most of the people...all of the time.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

"Neoconservatives" gain the upper hand...again

Never mind public opinion...never mind a congressional majority opposed to troop "surge"...never mind world opinion...never mind the view of the Iraq Study Group...never mind the view of high ranking military...never mind the loss of life and treasure....

Cheney-Bush-neocons and their right-wing Israeli cohorts "know best." Period.

Consequently, the final decision was made by individuals in the White House and TelAviv who are determined to continue digging the same hole as was made clear by our "fearless leader" in his address to the nation last night.

So, the massacre will continue unabated and Iraqis will continue suffering as a result of plans devised by a bunch of greedy individuals determined to gain access to the Iraq's oil infrastructure (as promised by Cheney to his buddies in the energy sector) and those who dislike Israel's neighbors and are determined to restructure the whole Middle East in their image (right-wing Israelis).

Yes, Condi will be traveling to the Middle East to "reignite" the Israeli-Palestinian peace process if for no other reason than put on a show that will lead....nowhere.

After six years and enormous costs, both in lives and treasure, the great majority of Americans have finally reached the conclusion that following blindly an individual who is clearly not up to the challenge of our times is NOT a good idea.

In the era of globalization and instant communication, using the military to force democracy on a given nation by triggering an unprovoked war, is a waste of humongous proportions.

Hopefully, on of these days Americans will realize that the war mongers who dragged us into this war should be thrown into the dust bin of history, given the enormous damage they have done to our nation and the world.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Greenspan to the rescue....

Of all the outrageous statements emanating from the White House, Bush's claim that economic growth and growing tax revenue is a direct result of his tax cuts is one of the most misleading.

What is invariably left out of the equation when this issue is addressed is the intervention of the FED, led by Alan Greenspan, who cut Fed funds time and time again until the system was flush with liquidity.

Amazingly, this little fact of life is rarely brought up by the opposition when Republicans make the outrageous claim that their tax cuts were THE major factor in promoting economic growth.

Yes, tax cuts did promote growth but... growth was in the national DEBT!

From an editorial published in the Wash Post titled "Mr. Bush is Oblivious to the Consequences of his Tax Cuts:"

PRESIDENT BUSH wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday that "it is also a fact that our tax cuts have fueled robust economic growth and record revenues." The claim about fueling record revenue is flat wrong, and it is shocking that the president should persist in making such errors. After all, tax cuts are the central plank of his domestic policy. How can he fail to understand the basic facts about them?

This is not just our opinion. Harvard's N. Gregory Mankiw, an economic conservative who served as chairman of Mr. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, has tested the hypothesis on which Mr. Bush's claim is based: He looked at the extent to which tax cuts stimulate extra growth and the extent to which that growth generates extra tax revenue that offsets the initial loss of revenue from the tax cut. Mr. Mankiw's conclusion: Even over the long term, once you've allowed all of the extra growth to feed through into extra revenue, cuts in capital taxes juice the economy enough to recoup half of the lost revenue, and cuts in income taxes deliver a boost that recoups 17 percent of the lost revenue. So a $100 billion cut in taxes on capital widens the budget deficit by $50 billion, and a $100 billion cut in income taxes widens the budget deficit by $83 billion.

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize that as the national debt grows the cost of servicing it grows exponentially. Were it not for foreign nationals, such as the Chinese and Saudis who, so far, have been willing to buy our bonds, interest rates in the U.S. would be much higher.

The question then becomes: How long will we rely on the good will of foreigners to do so? And, assuming the dollar continues tanking, how long will they be willing to continue subsidizing our economy?

Hopefully, now that Democrats are in charge of Congress, Americans will be told the truth before it is too late.

If there is one thing we should have learned during the past six years is that members of the Bush administration specialize in deception, both in the foreign or domestic arenas.

Monday, January 01, 2007

"Arabs are not Westerners?" No kiddin"....

What I find most amusing in Dana's response to my post is its title: "What our liberal friends simply don't realize: the Arabs are not Westerners and don't think like Western liberals."

No kiddin'Dana...:-) Actually, what you still fail to grasp is that they don't think as Westerners. Period.

I've made that point over and over and over again during our chats, for roughly ten years. That you would choose my words in a belated recognition of the importance that taking foreign customs and cultures into consideration when preparing for war, is indeed encouraging.

Unfortunately,your "fearless leaders" in the White House and their neoconservative cohorts are still living under the delusion that this bloody conflict can be resolved militarily given that they are seemingly convinced that a "surge" in U.S. troops will accomplish what has not been accomplished during the past three years.

After nine months of study, the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group had reached a rational conclusion, namely, that it was time for Iraqis to complete the task in what had clearly become a civil war with U.S. troops playing the role of "referees."

However, all indications are that their suggestions will be summarily rejected and that hawkish neoconservatives will gain the upper hand, once again, as more U.S. "referees" are introduced into Iraq to be shot at from all sides.

As for the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian saga, it will continue to provoke resentment and hatred in the region unless it is resolved given that the daily humiliation of Palestinians is seen by Arabs/Muslims as the humiliation of them all.

Individuals who must wait for hours at roadblocks, a wall that cuts through their lands, thousands of prisoners in Israeli jails, monies owed them and not delivered and on and on and on.

For a Jewish theocracy to be accepted and flourish in the Arab/Muslim world, the establishment of a viable Palestinian state with E. Jerusalem as its capital is a must, regardless of what Christian evangelicals such as Dana may have in mind regarding "God's Chosen People's" role in the upcoming Apocalypse followed by the "Second Coming."

That Arabs/Muslims harbor resentment toward Jewish Israelis is understandable given that they see the eviction of Palestinians from their homes as punishment for a crime they did not commit, namely, the Holocaust.

If I were evicted from my home and shoved into a refugee camp to make room for, say, Muslims, I would feel the same resentment and hatred.

The question then becomes: Why is that so difficult to understand?

If I were Prime Minister of Israel, I would order all roadblocks removed immediately as well as the settlements that stand in the way of a viable Palestinian state. Jewish occupants would have a choice of moving to Israel proper or to another country of their choice at government expense.

Once Palestinians can see a true light at the end of the tunnel, as opposed to never-ending talk, the great majority of them would turn against the extremists among them and peaceful coexistence would -- finally -- erupt.

Given Israeli expertise in many fields, close cooperation with Palestinians would transform both nations into the center of a flourishing region. Nations that comprise the Arab League would recognize Israel diplomatically and a whole continent would open its doors to trade and investments.

What I would suggest is: TRY may indeed LIKE IT!