Friday, July 04, 2008

Jesse Helms: He Hated.

The first thing I thought of when I heard Jesse Helms had died today was an American Experience documentary relating the story of Lyndon Johnson using his considerable persuasive talents to try and convince George Wallace to allow blacks to vote in Alabama.

From the transcript:

Johnson: "George, you and I shouldn't be thinking about 1964. We should be thinking about 1984. We'll both be dead and gone then. Now, you've got a lot of poor people down there in Alabama, a lot of ignorant people. A lot of people need jobs. A lot of people need a future. You could do a lot for them. Now, in 1984, George, what do you want left behind?

You want a great big marble monument that says, 'George Wallace: He Built', or do you want a little piece of scrawny pine laying there along that hot Caliche soil that says, 'George Wallace: He Hated'?"

That's what Jesse Helms is left with: His monument of Hate.

I'm sure it would have driven him crazy to know he died on the nation's birthday, the country that crushed his beloved Confederacy. I'm sure he would have prefered to have died on April 12th.

Anyway, I don't want to waste too much time on this racist piece of crap. Basically, here's all you need to know about Jesse Helms; "White Hands," one of the most outrageous campaign ads in American history from his race against Harvey Gantt (gasp, a black man running for the Senate in North Carolina!) in 1996. Playing on the primal fears of the decendants of the southern yoeman farmer, always the preferred patsy for the agents of the southern aristocracy, Helms won the election 54% to Gantt's 46% (which just goes to show why I will never live in NC again).

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Blogging at DU today.

The subject is Cuba and why Obama hates sugar cane.

My DU Journal

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

WWIII: Making nice? Nah!

AP reports:

"Iran's foreign minister on Wednesday dismissed talk of a U.S. or Israeli attack against his country, calling the prospect of another war in the Middle East 'craziness.'

[Iranian Foreign Minister] Manouchehr Mottaki said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that he does not believe Israel or the United States would act while the U.S. economy is suffering and the United States is bogged down in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

'We do not foresee such a possibility at the moment. The Israeli government is facing a political breakdown within itself and within the region, so we do not foresee such a possibility for that regime to resort to such craziness,' he said. 'The United States, too, is not in a position where it can engage in, take another risk in the region.'"

Hmmm . . . craziness, huh? Well, working for Ahmadinejad I'd guess he'd know all about craziness first hand. Anyway, one thing Mottaki doesn't seem to be taking into account is that domestic political problems or economic upheavals can be quickly pushed to the back burner by a convienent war.

At his big press conference today in the Rose Garden, supossedly also making conciliatory sounds, W. told reporters: "I have always said that all options are on table, but the first option for the United States is to solve this problem diplomatically." [Sounds real conciliatory, right?]

The NYT reports Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the JCS, seemed to agree with Mottaki's appraisal of the overstretched position of the US these days. Just after Bush's Rose Garden press conference, Mullen kept on the Pentagon's cooler heads should prevail message saying a war with Iran would be "extremely stressful." Of course, he said, "Just about every move in that part of the world is a high-risk move."

You bet.

Interestingly, the NYT reports Mottaki, speaking at the UN in New York, "refused to repeat the usual Iranian statement that it would never give up its right to uranium enrichment."

An opening perhaps? Everyone -- the Iranians and the Pentagon anyway -- are sounding very reasonable all of a sudden.

Obviously, this means WAR!

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Covert activities? In Iran? Oh, pooh, pooh!

Press TV Iran reports:

"An Iranian navy commander leading a unit that arrested 15 UK sailors in the Persian Gulf last year has survived an assassination attempt. The attack on Colonel Abolqasem Amangah, the commander of the Arvand Rood Navy Base in southern Iran, occurred while he was driving in the eastern Sorkh Hesar district of Tehran last week. Two groups of unidentified assailants, a group on a motorbike and the other in a car, opened fire on the vehicle of the Iranian commander. Amangah pulled his car over, took shelter, and managed to escape unhurt. "

Barack Obama: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss:

AP reports:

"Reaching out to religious voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is announcing plans to expand President Bush's program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and — in a move sure to cause controversy — support some ability to hire and fire based on faith. . . 'The challenges we face today ... are simply too big for government to solve alone,' Obama was to say, according to a prepared text of his remarks obtained by The Associated Press. 'We need all hands on deck.'"

Right, so how about those particular deck hands provide their own funds? It seems to me the federal government was perfectly capable of handling the challenges of the Great Depression through the New Deal without resorting to giving tax-payer hand-outs to the purveyors of fear, ignorance and intolerance.

Even worse, however, than the fact that "Mr. Change" wants to keep Bush's Faith-based charity program alive; he actually wants to expand it!!!


"Obama's support for letting religious charities that receive federal funding consider religion in employment decisions could invite a protest from those in his own party who view such faith requirements as discrimination. . . [He] supports letting religious institutions hire and fire based on faith in the non-taxypayer funded portions of their activities, said a senior adviser to the campaign, who spoke on condition of anonymity to more freely describe the new policy."

Uh huh, and how does he propose to keep track of which funds are which? Can you say: "Bait and switch?"


"Like Bush, Obama was arguing that religious organizations can and should play a bigger role in serving the poor and meeting other social needs. But while Bush argued that the strength of religious charities lies primarily in shared religious identity between workers and recipients, Obama was to tout the benefits of their 'bottom-up' approach. 'Because they're so close to the people, they're well-placed to offer help,' he was to say."

Fine, they can help from the bottom up on their own time with their own money. They can't come close to the kind of massive effort so desperately needed today that the federal government could provide. What this country needs now is a top down approach along the lines of the New Deal. Massive public works programs to repair our crumbling infrastructure, conservation programs to save our soil and water, jobs programs for the young in the CCC mold etc.

But, never mind about all that, Obama has his heads in the clouds, just like Bush . . .


"Obama also planned to talk bluntly about the genesis of his Christian faith in his work as a community organizer in Chicago, and its importance to him now.

'In time, I came to see faith as being both a personal commitment to Christ and a commitment to my community; that while I could sit in church and pray all I want, I wouldn't be fulfilling God's will unless I went out and did the Lord's work,' he was to say."

You know, that's great. I'm glad Obama has a healthy fantasy life and he believes in omniscient beings that tell him what to do (just like Bush). What we need, though, are folks right down here on earth who aren't so preoccupied with killing each other over which one's God is mas Macho that they actually have time to help real people who are really hurting.

You do the "Lord's work" on your own time Barack. I expect you to do our work with our secular tax money on our time.

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The annals of WWIII: Get your apples here!

ABC News reports:

"Senior Pentagon officials are concerned that Israel could carry out an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities before the end of the year, an action that would have enormous security and economic repercussions for the United States and the rest of the world . . . A senior defense official told ABC News there is an 'increasing likelihood' that Israel will carry out such an attack, a move that likely would prompt Iranian retaliation against, not just Israel, but against the United States as well. The official identified two 'red lines' that could trigger an Israeli offensive. The first is tied to when Iran's Natanz nuclear facility produces enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon."

[close quote]

That, depending on who you talk to, could be either next year or about five minutes from now.

The other "red line" (lots of 'red lines' and 'lines drawn in the sand') would be the Iranians setting up the Russian SA-20 air defense systems they're supossedly getting from Vlad & Co.

In either case, neither the Israelis nor the extremists in the vice president's office are going to allow any of these red lines to be crossed on their watch. [Perhaps, that's what all these "senior defense officials" fear?]

My theory is: that Cheney and Co. have been shown to be a bit gullable in the past when it comes to being suckered by slippery Middle Easterners (Ahmad Chalabi and "Curveball" come to mind) so all this bluster coming from Israel may just be another, not so subtle, ruse to get the US to jump first.

They've already managed to install into Cheney's mind the notion of the "Mad Dog" going off half-cocked to leave us holding the bag, so he may be thinking we'd might as well do it before they do -- and quick!

And before, defense officials warn, (gasp! ) "A new president, who may be less supportive, is sworn in next January."

Of course, if Bush and the gang that couldn't shoot straight do go after Iran and start WWIII, they will almost certainly assure Barack Obama wins the election.

The "consensus" I hear these days is that a new war would benefit McCain -- but, then again, the consensus was that the GOP had the midterms all sown up in 2006, too. I get the whole more military experience thing with McCain, but a $10 gallon of gas come November could really upset the applecart.

Of course, by November we may all be pushing applecarts around, so we may not have time to vote, which would benefit McCain and his fatcat buddies who'll, doubtless, be celebrating the $300 barrel of oil whilst lighting their cigars with the $10,000 bills the rest of us will be using to insulate our homes.

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Colin Powell for Veep? No bleeping way!

"He [Saddam] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors." Colin Powell, Feb, 2001. [Scoop]

So, I'm half awake about 20 minutes ago and I hear Juan Williams on Morning Edition seriously discussing why Colin Powell might become Obama's Veep.

OK, one word: Anthrax.

That's what Powell had in his hand at the UN trying to convince us with his unsullied reputation that when Saddam "finally admitted having these weapons in 1995, the quantities were vast. Less than a teaspoon of dry anthrax, a little bit about this amount--this is just about the amount of a teaspoon--less than a teaspoon full of dry anthrax in an envelope shutdown the United States Senate in the fall of 2001. . . If concentrated into this dry form, this amount would be enough to fill tens upon tens upon tens of thousands of teaspoons. And Saddam Hussein has not verifiably accounted for even one teaspoon-full of this deadly material." [DoS]

Ah, the memories! And this is my favorite part, Saddam's robot planes that were going to douse New York with his anthrax:

Powell: "Now, unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs.

Iraq has been working on a variety of UAVs for more than a decade. This is just illustrative of what a UAV would look like. This effort has included attempts to modify for unmanned flight the MiG-21 (ph) and with greater success an aircraft called the L-29 (ph). However, Iraq is now concentrating not on these airplanes, but on developing and testing smaller UAVs, such as this. UAVs are well suited for dispensing chemical and biological weapons.

There is ample evidence that Iraq has dedicated much effort to developing and testing spray devices that could be adapted for UAVs. And of the little that Saddam Hussein told us about UAVs, he has not told the truth. One of these lies is graphically and indisputably demonstrated by intelligence we collected on June 27, last year."

There are so many times before the invasion, including when he took a look at all this "triple sourced" intel and called it "bullshit" when he could have grown a spine and put an end to this fiasco before it happened, but he didn't.
What happens if Obama , God forbid, has to take us to war (presumably, this time, a legitimate war) he couldn't even think about having this guy come out and try to sell it. Please Mr. Obama, find another candidate for Veep.
Extra note:

And if you need any more reason to pick someone else . . . from the Ron Paul Blog:

"Just a fun little thought experiment. If I were Barack Obama, who would I choose for the vice presidency? My answer…Colin Powell."

If the Ronulans think he would be a good choice. you know you need to find someone else.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

WWIII just around the corner. Stay tuned.

That crazy Sy Hersh is at it again; this time claiming in the current edition of the New Yorker that W. & Co. have been given $400 million from the rubber stamp Congress to conduct mass covert operations inside Iran. The objective of these operations is supossedly to take-out or capture certain Iranians on a hit-list written by Cheney and to pay local dissidents, most of them terrorists, to blow things up and generally create enough chaos to provoke the regime into overreacting thus giving Cheney & Co. an excuse to intervene.

How nuts is that?

You know, I hear it said all over the place that Hersh has been saying the US is on the verge of attacking Iran for a long time, so why should we believe him now. After all, it's not like there's any evidence out there of any covert-like violence going on inside Iran, right?

Hersh writes:

"In recent months, according to the Iranian media, there has been a surge in violence in Iran; it is impossible at this early stage, however, to credit JSOC or C.I.A. activities, or to assess their impact on the Iranian leadership. The Iranian press reports are being carefully monitored by retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner, who has taught strategy at the National War College and now conducts war games centered on Iran for the federal government, think tanks, and universities. The Iranian press 'is very open in describing the killings going on inside the country,' Gardiner said. It is, he said, 'a controlled press, which makes it more important that it publishes these things. We begin to see inside the government.' He added, 'Hardly a day goes by now we don’t see a clash somewhere. There were three or four incidents over a recent weekend, and the Iranians are even naming the Revolutionary Guard officers who have been killed.'”

But Gardiner is just some disgruntled nut Hersh found, take it all with a grain of salt.


RTE reports today:

"An explosion at a gas distribution company in a town near the Iranian capital has killed 15 people. The cause of the blast late yesterday was not immediately clear. The Iranian news agency Fars said a large number of gas canisters used in homes for cooking had exploded. The explosion occurred at a gas company in a suburb of Karaj, west of Tehran."

Our tax dollars busy at work.

Threats and counter-threats: Don't worry be happy!

In other developments regarding the impossibility of W. & Co. attempting to get another war on before they're forced to possibly turn things over to that Muslim lover Barack Obama:

Reuters reports that Revolutionary Guards commander-in-chief Mohammad Ali Jafari told Jam-e Jam newspaper 'in some of the toughest language Iran has used so far' that Iran would take control of shipping in the Strait of Hormuz if attacked.

"Naturally every country under attack by an enemy uses all its capacity and opportunities to confront the enemy," Jafari says.

This threat, along with the Shaul Mofaz threat to Iran -- and then the reply from Jafari, "This country (Israel) is completely within the range of the Islamic republic's missiles. Our missile power and capability are such that the Zionist regime, despite all its abilities, cannot confront it" --- is attributed in the press to the obscene price of a barrel of oil.

Oh, and then there was Iranian Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh saying Iran would dig "some 320,000," graves [Ynet] for the invaders and you get the idea all is quiet on the Eastern Front.

[BTW, isn't this the very same Mohammad Ali Jafari the US tried to capture in Irbil, Kuridstan, in Jan. of 2007 and who later attended a conference (along with Condi Rice) on Iraq in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, four months later?]

The PMOI no longer a 'terrorist' group in UK: Coincidence?

In a totally unrelated news story:

The BBC reports:

"An Iranian opposition organisation is pushing to be legalised across the EU after being taken off the UK's list of alleged terrorist groups. The People's Mojahedin of Iran, also known as Mujaheddin-e-Khalq, has been legalised in the UK after winning an earlier court battle."

The People's Mujahadeen of Iran, aka the MEK, is still a terrorist group according to the United States:

"The State Department report on international terrorism for 2006 asserts that the
organization — and not just a radical element of the organization as the group asserts — was responsible for the alleged killing of seven American defense advisers to the former Shah in 1975-1976. The State Department report has, in the past, noted the group’s promotion of women in its ranks, but the report for 2006 emphasizes the group’s 'cult-like' character, including indoctrination of its members and separation of family members from its activists." [CRS]

Not that any of that would stop our Unitary Executive (kind of funny term when you realize we have two presidents) from doing business with anyone who'll play ball with us.

Sy Hersh:

"The M.E.K. has been on the State Department’s terrorist list for more than a decade, yet in recent years the group has received arms and intelligence, directly or indirectly, from the United States. Some of the newly authorized covert funds, the Pentagon consultant told me, may well end up in M.E.K. coffers. 'The new task force will work with the M.E.K. The Administration is desperate for results.' He added, 'The M.E.K. has no C.P.A. auditing the books, and its leaders are thought to have been lining their pockets for years. If people only knew what the M.E.K. is getting, and how much is going to its bank accounts—and yet it is almost useless for the purposes the Administration intends.'”

This is the same bunch that, according to ATC, had to basically rent a crowd to make it look like they had any kind of following at their big celebration in Paris this past weekend. Many interviewed by NPR had no idea who Massoud and Maryam Rajavi even were.

But, I'm sure the back channel to Cheney's lare is working overtime getting info on the vast throngs of supporters they have within Iran from the Ledeen/Ghorbanifar nexus and their agent in (Curt Weldon's Paris contact) code named "Ali." [LTAD]

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