Monday, March 31, 2008

Settlement Expansion Middle Finger to Middle East Peace

Hours after U.S. Secretary of State and her three generals shopped for progress toward peace between Israel and the future Palestinian state, the Jewish state annouced plans for 1,400 new homes on disputed land. Earlier in the process Sec. Rice criticized Israel's continued approval of new housing in contested territory.

"Settlement activity should stop - expansion should stop," Rice said.

And the Israeli response sounded bull in a china shop familiar.

Olmert spokesman Mark Regev had no comment on the new construction plans. But earlier in the day, Olmert pledged that Israel would build in east Jerusalem and heavily Jewish areas of the West Bank - land Israel expects to keep in a final peace agreement.

Now I know why Condi's special envoy is targeted toward Middle East Security and not peace. Once you make the gains, they have to be held, no matter the cost.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

CIA Chief's Personal Beliefs about Iran

The Jerusalem Post reported that CIA Director Michael Hayden believes Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon.

Asked whether he believed Iranians were trying to develop a nuclear weapons program, Hayden replied: "Personal belief? Yes." "Why would the Iranians be willing to pay the international tariff they appear willing to pay for what they're doing now if they did not have, at a minimum...the desire to keep the option open to...develop a nuclear weapon and perhaps even more so, that they've already decided to do that," Hayden said.

"Why the continuing production of fissile material, and Natanz? They say it's for civilian purposes, and yet...states around the world have offered them fissile material under controls so they can have their...civilian nuclear program. But the Iranians have rejected that," he stated. "When you start looking at that, and you get, not just the United States, but you get the UN Security Council imposing sanctions on them, why would they go through that if it were not to develop the technology that would allow them to create fissile material not under international control," Hayden asked.

Hayden acknowledged the fact that many may be skeptical of this type of reasoning, as Saddam Hussein had also been uncooperative with international efforts to monitor Iraq's nuclear program, but no nuclear weapons were eventually found after the US invasion.

So we've been wrong before using such logic. What makes Mr. Hayden think he got it right this time? It's odd he used "personal belief." That is not a professional assessment. Could it be just another dice roll in George Bush's Middle East RISK game? Watch out when the boys pull out the lighter just hours after downing a jalapeno cheese steak burrito. The board could become aflame. Some things are hard to contain, including George W.'s propensity to solve problems via violence.

Freedom to Suspend Habeas Corpus?

Two American citizens linger in an Iraqi prison facility. The Bush administration argues they have no rights to a timely and fair trial, habeas corpus rights guaranteed to all Americans in our Constitution. The Supreme Court will determine whether Mohammad Munaf and Shawqi Omar get their Constitutionally guaranteed fair trial or the Bush sponsored military tribunal. For a John Whitehead video on this topic, click here.

Muqtada's Resistance Goes Underground Yet Again

If the Sadrists live up to their leader's nine point statement, the Shi'ite resistance will once again enter the shadows. That means any U.S. troops movements in Southern Iraq would have less official cover. They couldn't auspiciously be there to contain those called off militants (while setting up to attack Iran). The chess moves are getting very interesting. Muqtada's official statement is below:

Due to our responsibility to protect Iraqi blood, to protect the reputation of Iraq and its unity, in preparation for its independence and freedom from the armies of darkness, and in order to put down the fire of sedition that the occupiers want to light between the brothers of the Iraqi people, we call upon the Iraqi people to be responsible and stop shedding Iraqi blood and to protect the country's stability and independence. Therefore, we have decided the following:

Number one, ending all JAM (Mahdi Army) military presence in Basra and the rest of the provinces

Number two, stopping all random and illegal detention and arrests

Number three, calling on the government to implement the general amnesty law and releasing all detainees not convicted, especially the Sadr Trend detainees

Number four, whoever raises arms and targets the government and state offices, organizations and the services and the political party offices is not one of us

Number five, cooperation with the government in preserving security and targeting criminals through legal procedures

Number six, we confirm that the Sadr Trend does not possess any heavy weapons

Number seven, efforts should be made to return the displaced people to their original homes which they left because of the security situation

Number eight, we call on the government to take into consideration the human rights and all its security measures and procedures

Number nine, the effort should be focused on reconstruction and services projects in all provinces of Iraq

Saturday, March 29, 2008

America's Proxy Effort Against Mehdi Army in Iraq?

What if Iraq's effort to disarm Muqtada is both a proxy battle to gauge regional feedback and a head fake to Iran? Taking on a huge Shi'ite group in Iraq could gauge any backlash from attacking Shia Iran. Most of the Sunni Arab leaders didn't pack their suitcase for the trip to Damascus and the annual meeting of the Arab League. If those Middle East hot spots stay quiet for the al-Sadr engagement, that bodes well for a green light on Iran.

And where in Iraq are the Sadrists? In the south, close to Iran. The movement of large numbers of American troops and equipment could occur under the cover of controlling outlaw militias. They would be in place for whatever mischief V.P. Cheney and Israeli P.M. Ehud Olmert planned, just after the recent military dress rehearsal between their two countries.

Balderdash? What have you been smoking? Well, the Russians took in the same foul air.

Russian military intelligence services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran's borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday.

The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran," the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched.

He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran "that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost."

Now that sounds familiar. Cakewalk, anyone?

Bush's Surge Success Implodes

The troop escalation was supposed to make way for political reconciliation between contentious parties in Iraq. However, the latest is a violent Shi'ite rift between the Iraqi government led by Nouri al-Maliki and renegade religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr. The surge got its success, in part, due to a cease fire ordered by al-Sadr. That's out the window.

The AP reported al-Sadr had the "liberation" of Iraq as his militia's chief goal. The radical Shiite cleric also said the impact of the U.S. presence on Iraq was more negative than that of Saddam Hussein's Baath party, ousted in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Al-Sadr alleged that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a fellow Shiite, was as "distant" from the people of Iraq as Saddam's Sunni-led regime. The government, he said, was "looking after its own interests, not those of the people."

Over on Juan Cole's Informed Comment, a post implied al-Sadr's people had been communicating with leaders in the Sunni Awakening Councils, who also have American forces leaving their country as a high priority. They drove al Qaeda out so the U.S. would no longer have a reason to stay. I wonder how a John McCain 100 year commitment went over to these groups? Politicians can't restrict their words just for domestic consumption, as much as they'd like.

One commenter, Greg Gordon on today's IC post had this to say. I found it most thought provoking, even if only "opinion":

Has there ever in the history of man been a policy more incoherent than this one? We back a government that is essentially a proxy of our regional arch-enemy, Iran. Our Sunni "Awakening" allies, largely composed of the Baathists we removed from power in the first place, hate this government and would love to overthrow it. Our Kurdish allies are composed of two decidedly undemocratic rival mafias, at least one of which is quite friendly to our enemy Iran, and at least one of which is carrying on a low-level war with our ally Turkey. Meanwhile, the most popular political movement in the country shares our stated goal of a democratic, unified Iraq and therefore must be crushed.

Democracy with us, good. Without us, bad. I guess it comes back to "you're either with us or against us." Democracy may have nothing to do with it. Of course, V.P. Dick Cheney just visited, applying a large dose of freedhem. It seemed to engorge the already inflamed.

Do Muqtada's words mean the cease fire is dead? He said, "I call on the Arab League, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the United Nations to recognise the legitimacy of the resistance."

One of his assistants added, "Moqtada al-Sadr asks his followers not to deliver weapons to the government. Weapons should be turned over only to a government which can expel the (U.S.) occupiers."

Now the long list of Middle East leader no shows at the Arab League is beginning to make sense. What else do V.P. Dick Cheney, President George Bush, and Israeli leader Ehud Olmert have up their sleeve? More divide and conquer?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Bush Says Freedhem Requires More than One Application

President George Bush, fresh off romanticizing war, noted it takes more than one round of killing Iraqi's to bring freedhem. Bush ordered the first application in March 2003. He spoke of the need for the current treatment of an inflamed area in Southern Iraq.

President Bush said Friday that the flare up in violence presents "a defining moment in the history of Iraq."

"It's going to take awhile, but it's a necessary part of the development of a free society," Bush said at a White House news conference.

It's a shame George Bush isn't there personally to deliver freedhem's salve. Vice President Cheney visited just last week and some speculate he played a role in the current conflict. Did he deliver yet another case for applied violence in his last visit?

Divide and conquer continues in the Middle East, courtesy of America and its allies. The question is how the electorate will judge the action in both countries. If the people become inflamed, does that mean a violent application will come our way? Time will tell...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rare Chance to Execute Double

The crowd gathered in nervous anticipation. In a rare feat of strength and agility, could the legendary Lou win two events simultaneously? Along the California beach, legions watched the competitors catch the first wave. As it rose higher and higher, one stud surfer rode both a long board and boogie board at the same time.

Oh, another competitor has a boogie board on his back! Mac dropped his to water, tentatively placing his foot on red board. Almost immediately the distance between the boards grew. Soon Mac was doing a split as the wave closed out on him. Dusted! Meanwhile, Lou majestically carved up and down the face. It was clear Lou Carlyle bested the competition. After Carlyle exited the giant wave over the lip, the wall of water smashed the public.

The story you just read is about the wave of privatization of the public domain. It's set in California as there may soon be the rare chance for a private firm to execute a double, building a toll road through a state park it also sponsors. Will The Carlyle Group's new infrastructure division rise to the challenge? Or will Macquarie, from the land down under, ride the winning wave?

The Bush Transportation Department clearly expressed its desire for greater privatization of public roads. His National Parks maintain a public/private partnership. Can California and Governor Arnold be far behind? Schwarzenegger just ditched two parks commissioners, possibly for blocking the toll road through the popular beach side state park. This opens up the wave of privatization for that rare double. Can Carlyle rise to the top, achieving state park sponsorship and toll road ownership simultaneously? Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Democracy Involves "Things Being Done"

America's open democratic processes continue to slip away. Dirty Harry, the Senator from Nevada, prognosticated regarding his party's Presidential nominee. Consider his banter:

Question: Do you still think the Democratic race can be resolved before the convention?

Reid: Easy.

Q: How is that?

Reid: It will be done.

Q: It just will?

Reid: Yep.

Q: Magically?

Reid: No, it will be done. I had a conversation with Governor Dean (Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean) today. Things are being done.

Yes Harry, things are being done, or rather undone as the two Democratic candidates and their advisers alternate throwing ridiculous haymakers. "Judas", "monster", "rhymes with witch", "McCarthy", "Ozone man", to name just a few.

One might think Oscar Goodman, Las Vegas Mayor and lawyer to the mob, was advising both campaigns. Just get dirty, cause what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Who'll squeal about the "things being done" to easily resolve the Democratic ticket? Don't tell me it involves an ex-Southern Senator? We know what they do to make people squeal like a pig. And Harry will call it an easy "Deliverance".

New FW Director Has History of Watching

Carl Forti joins Freedom's Watch as the head of issue advocacy just in time for the fall political campaign. Issue advocacy is the fancy name for dirty ads, of which Carl has a long and sordid history. Mr. Forti joins FW fresh from the Mitt Romney campaign. His prior employer was the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is reeling from a five year accounting scandal.

Carl served as Communications Director and Independent Expenditures Director at the NRCC where in 2004 and 2006. Both of those years were covered under the accounting scandal. As someone responsible for spending money, one might expect Carl to meet with auditors. Oops! There were none, for over five years!

But what else happened on Mr. Forti's shift with the NRCC? The LA Times quoted Carl and his boss (reported by TPM):

(1) "You haven't seen the majority of the negative ads yet." -- Carl Forti, a spokesman for the NRCC, where a staff of 10 has been deployed on opposition research

(2) "Define your opponent immediately and unrelentingly...Don't make the mistake of pulling your ads in favor of a positive rotation the last weekend." -- internal GOP strategy memo from former RNC chief of staff Tom Cole

(3) "When people are looking at national issues that are not breaking our way, what you want to do is focus on your opponent." -- also from Cole

Applying the above to the NRCC accounting scandal, what would one get? Would it sound like:

Rep. Tom Cole and NRCC staffer Carl Forti didn't mind the store caring for their donors' money. This incompetent pair failed to notice the complete absence of auditors during their time leading the NRCC. Over a period of over five years, their whimsical financial controls allowed one person to purloin Republican campaign donations to the possible tune of $1 million. Rep. Tom Cole stood at the helm while Treasurer Ward raided the NRCC coffers. If Republicans look over their donor's money this poorly, what do they do with the taxpayers?

How was that Carl? Should I have hit harder and lower below the belt? And what's the best way to deliver it? Should I send it in a brown envelope with a government like seal? How do I get a list of Freedom's Watch members for the direct mailing? Of course Carl Forti knows, he's just not in the mood for sharing...

(HT-Think Progress)

Freedom to Make Ka-Ching

In 2002 The Carlyle Group managed $12 billion in funds. In the last few weeks that number ticked from $76 billion to over $81.1 billion in managed funds. That's nearly a six bagger in six years. Carlyle Capital just lost $600 million of its investors money. Lining up the sixes, what do you get? Six, six, six. CCC just had it's version of a bank run. Who's next? It's time to party like it's 1929!

Monday, March 24, 2008

IOC's Confidence in China Appears Misplaced

When awarding China the Summer Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee expressed confidence the world would see a much freer country by 2008. It turns out, TV broadcasters aren't free to televise in Tiananmen Square, the site of huge but deadly pro-democracy demonstrations in 1989.

That could change between now and August 8th, but don't count on the heavy handed Chinese government to loosen up anytime soon. They've painted a man devoted to non-violence and peace as the leader of an deadly insurrection. Once the first shot is fired and the nearest skull cracked, one cannot predict what the people will do. However, it is predictable that Freedom's Watch will stay firmly on the sidelines.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Free to Be Ignorant

South Carolina Lindsey Graham needs to go back to school based on this morning's comments on Face the Nation. He called Iran a theocratic dictatorship. The CIA factbook calls it an Islamic or theocratic republic. Republic means "a representative democracy in which the people's elected deputies (representatives), not the people themselves, vote on legislation."

So who does Senator Graham want us to believe is Iran's dictator? Of course it's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, their elected President. But the little man with the fiery rhetoric reports to the Ayatollah Khamenei. As we don't have diplomatic relations, the United States communicates to Iran through our ally Pakistan, another Islamic Republic, and Switzerland, the country that just inked a deal for 22 billion Euro's in Iranian natural gas. Israel and the U.S. objected to the deal as it provides funds to a "terrorist" country and was executed in non-dollar denominations.

So either the American people or Lindsey Graham need to join John McCain in going Back to School. There we can learn:

1. Sunni fundamentalists aren't ponying up to blasphemous Shia conservatives.
2. Iran is not a dictatorship.
3. And who is preventing the Middle East from being nuclear free?

That would be the country that just got carte blanche for anything it needs to insure its security. There's so much to learn. One can't fault Senators McCain and Graham...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Freedhem's Words Leading to War

The documentary Leading to War is well worth the seventy two minutes it takes to view. Today American leaders deploy similar language in regard to the Iranian threat. John McCain tied al Qaeda to the Iranian government, George Bush talked about a mushroom cloud "destroying people", and Dick Cheney rode around the Middle East in a reprise of his pre-Iraq war tour.

Freehem is a revolutionary hemorrhoidal cream guaranteed to reduce inflaming assholes like the President of Iran. But first V.P. Cheney and President Bush should consider a self-application, in a rare display of leading by example. If the Unitary Executive is still angry and engorged, then attack the little bearded man, yank down his drawers and apply a large dose of Freedhem. But I bet that won't provide relief either.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate doesn't drive out hate, only love can do that."--Dr. Martin Luther King

Thursday, March 20, 2008

No Country for China Men

Seventeen Chinese Uighurs linger in Guantanamo Bay some five years after the U.S. government determined they were no longer enemy combatants. They likely never were enemies of America. The Washington Post reported on their long suffering within the detention facility in August 2005. Almost three years later, the BBC noted little had changed for those unfairly detained. Held six years in solitary confinement for literally no good reason? The beacon of freedom and liberty for the world surely couldn't, wouldn't do such a thing...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Freedom to Discriminate in America

Read the following scenario on discrimination and answer the question below it:

A pregnant lady goes to an obstetrician/gynecologist to end her pregnancy for whatever reason, be it rape, incest, life circumstances, economics, or bad results from prenatal testing. The doctor is opposed to the procedure on moral grounds, despite it being legal in his state and his patient's falling within any legally specified criteria. The physician refuses to carry out the woman's wishes. His certification board requires he make a timely referral to another competent OB/GYN. The doctor ignores this requirement. The young woman is left to find a new provider. After telling her new physician the story of being left alone and hanging, the woman learns of the board requirement and files a complaint against her old doctor. Doctor #1 later loses his board certification which causes other ramifications.

Q: Whose rights do you think the federal government should be concerned about? Who should the head of Health and Human Services be championing? Is it:

a. The patient who wants a legally valid procedure and must get it within society's specified times frames and restrictions. After finding her doctor unwilling, she essentially feels fired from the doctor's practice and must find a new provider.

b. The doctor who took an oath to serve his patients and is trained to perform the legal procedure, but morally objects to it. The physician agreed to meet the certification standards of his specialty, but violated those terms when he failed to make the referral to another OB/GYN. He faced consequences from his actions, knowing full well what those would be.

If you said A, you don't live in Bush's world. His administration finds the doctor more powerless than the patient in this situation. HHS Chief Mike Leavitt intruded into this professional standard setting with his recent letter. In it he cites his fear that physicians will be discriminated against. What is this federal bureaucrat doing intervening in medical specialty standard setting? Not looking after the rights of patients, once again...

Will of the People Doesn't Matter Much

The vast majority of people in Iraq and the U.S. want American troops to leave the Middle East's newest democracy. One might expect the will of the people to translate into policy in democratic countries.

The American people are very concerned about footing the bill for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. A Washington Post-ABC News poll showed nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the war was not worth waging. Iraqi citizens believe the insurgency exists, in a significant part, to drive out the U.S. presence from their country. A BBC poll showed nearly three fourths of Iraqis oppose coalition forces. Over 50% say the surge made things worse.

Yet in his speech, the democratic American President made no mention of the will of the people. Instead, he said "he had no regrets about the unpopular war in Iraq despite the 'high cost in lives and treasure' and declared that the United States was on track for a major victory there."

Didn't we already declare victory? In May 2003 Bush declared that "major combat operations" in Iraq were over as he stood on the USS Abraham Lincoln under a banner reading "Mission Accomplished." So Mr. President, we're on track for another major victory in Iraq? Why are the people, especially the Iraqi's, the last to know?

It seems a compassionate person could find at least one regret in all this:

The war has cost the United States $500 billion. An estimated 80,000-90,000 Iraqis have been killed and 4.5 million people displaced. Nearly 4,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed, as well as 175 British troops and 134 from other countries.

Given the above was based on inaccurate intelligence, a leader could easily find regret:

An October 2002 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate -- representing the consensus views of the American intelligence community -- concludes that Iraq is pursuing a nuclear device, has an active biological weapons program and has resumed making deadly mustard, sarin and VX chemical agents.

In an exhaustive 2005 review, the blue-ribbon Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, finds that the NIE's conclusions were flat wrong.

Somebody, please keep this man away from the button during his last ten months in office.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

McCain Chokes on Terrorist Stew

While in Sunni Jordan, Presidential hopeful John McCain drank from the huge vat of terrorist stew brewed by George W. Bush. It doesn't matter that Sunni terrorists (al Qaeda) are the meat and Shia extremists are the potatoes. They all want to cook America's goose, and are working together to do so. At least that's what the Bush administration wants the American public to believe.

John McCain swallowed too many "George" pills and pulled a similar gaffe in Jordan. It's a good thing no locals were listening. They might've stoned John for putting Sunni conservatives in legion with those crazy Shiites.

For more on the Sunni/Shia divide, one need go no further than Iraq. After V.P. Dick Cheney boasted of phenomenal successes, the Iraqi reconciliation meeting fell flat when three groups decided not to play. Two Sunni and one Shia faction passed on their chance to play a meaningful role in Iraqi healing and political development.

They can't get together to pump oil out of their country and generate dollars? How could these contentious groups conspire to bring down the only super power on earth? By charging us lost of money for their oil! One might expect those wily terrorists to fashion that petroleum law ASAP.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Freedom to Vacation

The Cheney family packed their suitcases in nervous anticipation. Dick, the patriarch, announced they would go on vacation, but in his usual sinister way, wouldn't give any clues as to their final destination.

Liz tried to weasel it out of him. "Honey, will we need to pack our orange jumpsuits?"

Dick replied, "You always wanted to go to the tropics, but you know I hate heat and humidity. No, we're going someplace drier than that."

"Well then, will we need to pack winter jackets or carry sunscreen?" asked Mrs. Cheney.

"Think St. Patrick's Day honey. I'm taking us where there's lots of green," offered the V.P. slyly.

As the plane corkscrewed its landing at the Baghdad airport, Liz remarked. "My that's a big green lake. What's it called?"

"Raw sewage," barked the Vice President.

"Well honey, other than that, I don't see alot of green," noted his disappointed wife.

"It's St. Patrick's Day, Liz. Knock, knock, anybody home? We're staying in the Green Zone. I'm meeting with Iraqi leaders to get the oil flowing faster. That produces lots of greenbacks for U.S. oil companies. And by my bringing the family to vacation here, Iraq is now open for tourism dollars. It's win, win, green for everybody," noted Dick.

"What about the people living near the lake of sewage?" asked Mary, his daughter.

"Hello? Lake front view? That's almost as good as living in the tropics," replied Dick.

The Cheney's laughed heartily at their patriarch's jokes, while the rest of the world cried.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

FW Goes Down Without Swinging Bat

Freedom's Watch is now zero for three at the world's freedom plate. They struck out with their latest silence over Tibetan protests. Strikes one and two came from FW's pass on Pakistan and Burma, where last fall, citizens by the tens of thousands gathered in support of democracy.

In a Burmese like echo, Tibetan Buddhist monks peacefully protested for greater freedom. Once the Chinese military started cracking heads, the Tibetan people responded with violence. News reports show conflicting numbers of dead. The official Chinese tally is 10, while Tibetan groups cite a much larger 80 deaths. The Dalai Lama called for an independent inquiry of the situation in Tibet. If Baxter Healthcare can't assess Chinese workshops providing tainted heparin ingredients, the Dalai Lama likely won't get his called for investigation. But don't worry about patients or Tibetans dying, the Olympics are coming!

The International Olympic Committee has the same gumption as Freedom's Watch. When they awarded China the games in 2001, the IOC clearly had expectations China would improve its human rights situation. That hasn't been the case. IOC Chair had this to say about the crackdown in relation to the Olympics:

President Jacques Rogge said Saturday he opposed an Olympic boycott over Tibet. ''We believe that the boycott doesn't solve anything,'' Rogge told reporters on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. ''On the contrary, it is penalizing innocent athletes and it is stopping the organization from something that definitely is worthwhile organizing.''

For another eerie echo, consider the IOC's position when they awarded China the Olympic games:

A warning from the IOC director-general, Fran├žois Carrard, during a press conference after Friday's vote that human rights was 'a very serious issue' went unreported. Carrard told journalists that 'we are taking the bet that seven years from now we sincerely and dearly hope we shall see many changes'.

Yes, there have been many changes the last seven years. Who would have thought the American people would fear poisonous Chinese pet food, tires, toothpaste, blood thinner, and children's toys? Let the games begin, other than in Tibetan streets, Taiwanese cities or American shopping aisles!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tibetan Monks Protest, Chinese Crack Down

News reports state at least two people died in a Chinese security crackdown on Tibetan Buddhist monks in the city of Lhasa. The peaceful protests somehow turned violent. The BBC reported:

The rallies began earlier this week when a number of Buddhist monks were reportedly arrested after a march marking the 49th anniversary of a Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.

Radio Free Asia, which is funded by the US government, quoted one Lhasa resident as saying: "[The rioters] ransacked Chinese shops and the police fired live ammunition into the crowd. No-one is allowed to move around in Lhasa now."

The Tibetan spiritual leader in exile urged calm. The Dalai Lama released a statement expressing deep concern.

He called on the Chinese leadership to "stop using force and address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people through dialogue with the Tibetan people." He added: "I also urge my fellow Tibetans not to resort to violence."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Livni Learns Bushspeak

After meeting with Secretary of State Condi Rice, Israeli Foreign Minister pulled a classic Bush move, say you're not doing something when the evidence proves you clearly are. In Ms. Livni's case the topic was West Bank settlement expansion. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert approved a 750 housing unit expansion on Sunday, only to be followed by a 32 unit expansion on Tuesday. Here's Tzipi Livni's version of Bushspeak (from the Jerusalem Post):

On the eve of a US report which is expected to be particularly critical of Israeli implementation of its road map obligations, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni downplayed a recent decision by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to unfreeze a 750-unit housing project in Givat Ze'ev, saying that it was not government policy to expand settlements, Reuters reported.

"It's not the Israeli government policy to expand settlements these days," Livni told students at Harvard University. "We decided to stop settlement activities." She went on to characterize the planned expansion of Givat Ze'ev as "not dramatic," but said that other expansion activities would be "unhelpful."

Let's see, Ms. Livni spent the earlier part of the week visiting with her American friends in the Bush administration. It appears she learned something. Condi frequently talks about policy while ignoring practice. It's not her policy to buy expensive shoes...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Freedom Is "God Given Right" Costing U.S. $3 Trillion

President Bush spoke to Christian radio broadcasters about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In defending those conflicts, Bush mixed faith and foreign policy while failing to mention the price tag. The basis for invading of those two countries are the beliefs that freedom is a God-given right and “every human being bears the image of our maker.”

What Bush didn't mention in his Opryland talk was the cost of war and how it distorts the people currently bearing that God-like image. A Nobel Prize economist predicts the wars will cost Americans $3 trillion before its all said and done. Estimates of Iraqi lives lost due to the direct effects and conditions of war range from 450,000 to 600,000. The estimated number of wounded is 15 times those killed. With the U.S. military dead now approaching 4,000, that means up to 60,000 have been wounded. An estimated 52,000 have post traumatic stress disorder. Approximately 40% of 1.65 million troops will need disability compensation.

George W. failed to mention the toll war takes on those bearing the image of our maker, much less the toll on our country's finances. At least some one's benefiting from all this God inspired violence. Oil and defense companies are making out like bandits in the current economy. Yes Mr. Bush, "no one deserves to be a master and no one a slave." So why are you a slave to war? And why do you serve the master of American corporatism?

Bush Team's Olympic Class Doublespeak

To show the world that economic progress does not translate into human rights improvement, the U.S. State Department removed China from its list of most systematic human rights abusers. Huh? Here's the quote from the BBC article:

A state department official said there was no back-pedalling on China's record. She said the new categorisation was meant to counter the argument that economic progress leads to improved human rights and freedom.

If that's the case, why not keep China on the list with Burma, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Belarus, Sudan, Eritrea, Zimbabwe and Uzbekistan? Instead China dropped off and Syria got added. Isn't Syria one of the countries housing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees?

So now that we know China's huge trade surplus hasn't translated to rights for their people, what will the Bush administration do, other than remove the Red Storm from its list of abusers? Is is a one year Olympic pass? The article went on to say:

Unlike in previous years, China, which will be hosting this summer's Olympic Games, was not grouped with the world's most systematic human rights violators.

China was described as an authoritarian regime undergoing rapid economic and social change, which had "not undertaken democratic political reform".

"The government continued to monitor, harass, detain, arrest and imprison journalists, writers, activists and defence lawyers and their families, many of whom were seeking to exercise their rights under law," the report said.

Tough words, an exemption, and more Bush doublespeak. This is from the Q & A on the State Department report:

QUESTION: I just wanted to go to China for a moment because it – I mean, I didn’t feel like you answered the previous question, which was, yes, we’ve seen the report, I’ve seen the preface or the introduction and all these things about China. At the same time, there is a list of systematic abusers of human rights, the worst of them, and China is not on that list and it was last year. So was that a gesture to the Chinese? Does it have anything to do with the Olympics? Can you please explain it?

MR. FARRAR: Sure. I think if you look at the introduction, you’ll see that what we say about China – I could even flip to it if you give me a second.

QUESTION: No, I’ve read it.

MR. FARRAR: Is exact – is exactly accurate.

QUESTION: Actually, there’s a discrepancy. That’s exactly why I’m asking because the report says many things about China, but it’s not on that list of the worst offenders and it was last year. Why is it not on the list? That’s my question.

MR. FARRAR: I would say China is listed under a section dealing with authoritarian countries undergoing economic reform where the democratic political reform has not kept pace. And that is a completely accurate assessment.

Earlier in the session the State Department representative had this to say about China:

QUESTION: There’s been lots of focus on China in the lead-up to the Olympics. Can you highlight some of the key issues that you think should be highlighted?

MR. FARRAR: I think the reports highlight that generally that the human rights record remain poor; that there were, as I mentioned earlier, efforts to tighten controls in some areas, including on religious freedom and on the internet; the increasing difficulties of some human rights dissidents in China. And in general, you know, the human rights record remain poor.

QUESTION: Well, can I follow up on that?


QUESTION: Elise Labott with CNN. It also seems that the Chinese Government is forcibly relocating people to make way for Olympic projects. So do you think that in kind of tandem with their physical clearing of the neighborhoods for these Olympic projects, do you think that China is making a concerted effort to get rid of anybody from the Beijing area where the Olympics are going to be that it deems kind of unsuitable as the Olympics approach? Is that of greater concern now as the Olympics approach?

MR. FARRAR: I think if you look at the report, it does describe how -- the increasing difficulties for petitioners in Beijing, which I think covers that area.

Does that mean Chinese citizens can't have their voices heard or get their questions answered? Hmmm, that sounds very familiar...

But don't worry your pretty little head over such things, there's an Olympics to celebrate! Wasn't that the prize intended to drive China to improve its human rights record? No wonder we need Bush levels of doublespeak to cover up the "lack of improvement" from prior poor levels. Creating a new category, that's dastardly Rovish! Give the man a medal...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

As Cheney Rides In, Fallon Rides Out

The U.S. Commander of Middle Eastern Forces, Admiral William Fallon, stepped down today. Pentagon Chief Robert Gates granted his request for early retirement. I'm sure those benefits are contingent upon behaving appropriately, including keeping confidentiality.

A man who knows all too well about secrecy rides into the conflict wracked Middle East. Vice President Dick Cheney will visit next week. One of his topics will be Iran, an area where Admiral Fallon broke with the Bush bunch.

John McCain is also slated to visit. Will they team up for a duet? Bomb, bomb, bomb...

Free Vitter, Craig & Spitzer!

The most recent group of politicians caught in lurid, sexually compromising positions continue to serve in office. They do so under the harsh light of media glare and uproarishly funny late night jokes. These three public servants deserve the right to continue representing the American public without such harmful interference. Free Vitter, Craig and Spitzer! Better yet, free them from office. You boys can go home and don't forget your moral fiber...

With Allies Like That?

Haaretz reported on heated discussion regarding German Chancellor Angela Merkel's upcoming speech to the Israeli Knesset. The rancor was over the language she would use to address the Israeli parliament. Recall Germany is an ally of the Middle Eastern democracy.

"I cannot stand to hear German in the Knesset," NRP-National Union MK Aryeh Eldad said, "my mother and father were murdered in that language."

"They are Amaleks, they are the mother of all Amaleks. The Jews must not return to be doormats," NRP-National Union MK Uri Ariel said.

Yes, the freedom and light shining from that legislative body. Somebody give those gentlemen a backrub. Maybe Dick Cheney can do it during his visit.

Middle East Democracy Turns into Damnocracy

America's shining democratic ally in the Middle East lost a bit of its inclusive luster. A member of the Israeli Parliament, Avigdor Lieberman swore to "rid the Knesset of all of its Arab factions." The Jerusalem Post reported:

Addressing the Arab Knesset members during a no-confidence motion Monday, Lieberman said that a new administration would soon be established and would "take care" of the Arab parties.

"Today we have a government made up of cowards. This is temporary, just as you [the Arab factions] are temporarily here," said Lieberman.

So much for government of the people, by the people and for the people. It could just persish from the Middle East, much to President Lincoln's chagrin. That the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs could lead the way seems rather disturbing.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Shooter Cheney Rides Into Middle East

The signs are ominous for Iran as Vice President Dick Cheney works to help Israel, America's greatest ally. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will meet with Shooter this week. Israel's Mossad called for Iran to have a nuclear bomb in 2009. Even a Kuwait strategist called for Israel to take out Iran's nuclear sites as a favor to the region. Israel's President Shimon Peres said they wouldn't do the job alone.

Next week Dick flys to the Middle East where he plans to visit Israel, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Turkey. That ever open and transparent White House said the V.P. would meet with Middle Eastern leaders to discuss issues of "mutual interest." Wherever Dick goes, it seems violence follows. Let's hope he gets a better reception than his last visit.

Anyone want to bet his message is a version of Major T.J. Kong's in Dr. Stangelove?

Now look, boys. I ain't much of a hand at makin' speeches. But I got a pretty fair idea that somethin' doggoned important's going on back there. And I got a fair idea of the kind of personal emotions that some of you fellas may be thinkin'. Heck, I reckon you wouldn't even be human beins if you didn't have some pretty strong personal feelings about nookular combat. But I want you to remember one thing - the folks back home is a countin' on ya, and by golly, we ain't about to let 'em down. Tell ya somethin' else - this thing turns out to be half as important as I figure it just might be, I'd say that you're all in line for some important promotions an' personal citations when this thing's over with. That goes for every last one of ya, regardless of your race, color, or your creed. Now, let's get this thing on the hump. We got some Iranian ass to kick.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

U.S. Vote Could Give Terrorists Their Coveted Win

America could lose the war on terror by voting suggested Representative Steve King (R-Iowa). CNN reported:

An Iowa Republican congressman said Friday that terrorists would be "dancing in the streets" if Democratic candidate Barack Obama were to win the presidency.

"The radical Islamists, the al-Qaida … would be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on Sept. 11 because they would declare victory in this war on terror," King said in an interview with the Daily Reporter in Spencer.

Isn't that eerie Mr. King? If I read you right, America's 2008 democratic elections could give terrorists the win they desire. What about George Bush's repeated calls citing democracy as the tonic for reducing irritating terrorism? Does that mean Republicans want democracy abroad and not at home? I thought that was the logic for Iraq, fight them abroad and not at home.

Rep. Steve King might want to send his prognostications to the horror writer Stephen King. They both fit in the fiction category. Maybe his next book will be Horrific Congress. I think we've found the leading character...

Free to Torture

For nearly three years, the United States has been associated with torture. The topic regularly graces the front page of world newspapers . President George W. Bush kept the streak going with his veto of a bill that would restrict interrogation methods to those outlined in the army field manual. One daily suggested he sealed his legacy with the veto. Was that a water splashed, cellophane like seal?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bush Blisters Democracies Trading with Communist C___a

President George W. Bush (43) scolded democracies doing major trade with a one party communist country. While he blistered European countries for trading with Cuba, Bush failed to note the $250 billion log sticking out of his eye. On the side of the wood it said, Made in China. And don't forget, President George H.W. Bush (41), about those 19 U.S. patients killed by tainted heparin.

Leaders Say Terrorism Direct Result of Democratic Processes

Several governmental officials spoke to contributory causes of terror acts in America and Israel. Regarding a gunman's attack on a Jewish religious school, Haaretz news reported:

MK Avigdor Lieberman slammed the Arab Knesset members on Friday, maintaining that "yesterday's attack can not be disconnected from the Arab MKs incitement, which we hear daily in the Knesset."

Fox news commentor, Oliver North spoke to a small bomb planted in New York's Times Square:

"Last month, of course, the U.S. House of Representatives at the direction of Nancy Pelosi went on vacation rather than voting on the Protect America Act, which provided for wiretapping of terrorists making phone calls into and out of the United States to foreign places. And I note that it would have been a lot easier, perhaps, to find out who did this, or even to know that they were planning it, had we been able to intercept those communications."

So the obvious cause of these attacks is the people's legislature, a key component of democracy. No wonder many Kenyans vowed to never vote again...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Did CIA Supply Iran with Nuclear Warhead Plans?

Haaretz reported on a legal case involving secret information. The journalist revealed a plan by the CIA and Israel's Mossad to disrupt Iranian progress on nuclear weapons by giving them flawed plans. They encountered a problem when their conduit corrected the flaws in an attached addendum.

What if this is the evidence the U.S. cites as proof that Iran had an active nuclear weapons program? True or not? My guess is we won't know for a long time. Bush doesn't own up to his mistakes...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

U.S. to Change Ambassador to Israel

Haaretz reported James Cunningham would soon be announced as the new U.S. envoy to Israel. He will replace Richard Jones formerly of Iraqi Coalition Provisional Authority fame and Ambassador to Israel since 2005. Mr. Jones' bio shows historical ties to the Saudis.

The new man in charge comes from the Far East, having served as U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong. Does George W. need a fresh face in the region given the two slaps in today's news? The first came when OPEC said it wouldn't increase production to ease oil prices, citing America's responsibility for the current economic woes. Now that's Bush like compassion.

The second bitch slap came from the Arab League when it threatened to pull out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty should Israel ever admit it has nuclear weapons. Bush's War on Terror was supposed to make the world a safer place. Now Israel will have to keep its nukes in the cannister when they make that predicted raid on Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities. Otherwise, it could trigger a worldwide arms race.

For a record of Mr. Richard Jones impact on Israel during his three years as Ambassador, check out our Tel Aviv embassy's press releases. Either he did little or Condi's controlling the press strings. But the new guy held State Department Lurch's spot while John Negroponte stewed waiting Senate confirmation for a U.N. post. During that time James Cunningham deflected international criticism of Israel. It looks like he'll be doing that again.

McCain to Continue Bush's Disastrous Foreign Policy

President Bush endorsed Republican Presidential nominee John McCain at the White House earlier today. During his remarks Bush said of the newly knighted McCain:

"he's not going to change when it comes to taking on the enemy. He understands this is a dangerous world, and I understand we better have steadfast leadership who has got the courage and determination to pursue this enemy, so as to protect America."

Bush's divide and conquer policies pit sectarian groups, even whole countries against each other. The Middle East fractured deeper under George's seven years of tampering, frequently characterized by generous arms aid. According to the CIA both the number and depth of America's enemies has grown. Weapons of mass destruction remain a clear and present danger as Bush tries to keep a nuclear free Middle East.

The Arab League put a chink in Bush's armor with their new position on the nuclear proliferation treaty. Haaretz reported the Arab League announced "Arab countries will walk away from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty if Israel ever officially acknowledges it has nuclear weapons." So keep on keeping on John. Bush has it all under control...

The American People Can Kiss Our Ass!

President Bush escorted Republican Presidential nominee John McCain into the White House. Over lunch they could discuss John's promise not to investigate the Bush cabal for corruption or illegal activities. That alone means I won't vote for Senator McCain. When a citizen can't get his questions answered after nearly two years, the government is not accountable.

The same FBI issued thousands of illegal national security letters between 2003 and 2005. CNN reported:

An audit by the inspector general a year ago that found the FBI demanded personal data on people from banks, telephone and Internet providers and credit bureaus without official authorization and in non-emergency circumstances during that period.

What if the FBI subpoenaed my records instead of Fran Townsend's, LifeCare's or The Carlyle Group's? How is a citizen to know if they were the target of illegal FBI spying? Neither George Bush nor John McCain could give a rat's ass, and that my friends, is what we see above.

President Bush just announced his intention of appointing his chief omitter to the Presidential Intelligence Advisory Board. Another rat scurries around the deck of the spying, lying, omitting White House. The pattern exists and it repeats itself at many levels. McCain's bear hug of the practice is most disturbing.

Freedom to Look Away

Huffington Post reported on Senator John McCain's spine melting in response to investigating any Bush administration corruption. Apparently a Bush bear hug can dissolve lumbar disks. Huffington Post offered:

When asked today about supporting independent investigations into the Bush administration, McCain replied: "I do not agree with your sentiment that there has been widespread corruption. I just don't accept that.

It turns out there is more than one jellyfish in the hallowed Senate chambers, where Vice President Dick Cheney once said, "Go F_ck Yourself!" I just received a response from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in reference to my Roger That! post, where I complained about not getting answers to my longtime concerns about questionable Bush ethics. Here's what I sent after Congress announced it would investigate Roger Clemens for steroid use:

My representatives never answered why The White House juiced up its "Lessons Learned" report on Hurricane Katrina. Why didn't they bring in Fran Townsend to explain her free pass for the hospital with the highest number of patient deaths post landfall? LifeCare got not one mention in Fran's investigative report. Funny, this same Congress failed to ask LifeCare's owner, The Carlyle Group, about it. They had their chance to grill Carlyle exec's during their review of the ManorCare purchase. Instead Congress played Santa and approved the deal. If Carlyle can fail one of twenty one LTAC's in a time of crisis, what can they do with 500 mostly nursing homes?

Senator Kay Bailey's reply is below:

Some time ago, you wrote me and my records indicate you may not have received a timely response to your concerns. Your suggestions and counsel are very important to me. Every day I am required to make difficult decisions based on the information available to me and the views of Texans who take the time to let me know their concerns. you for contacting my office, and I apologize for any delay. Please do not hesitate to contact me if your concerns can be further addressed.

Still no answer. It must be with John McCain's unplanned investigations...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Huge Ego Chavez Qualifies for U.S. CEO Slot

Venezuelan President Huge Ego Chavez joins the CEO of Chiquita Brands in funding Columbian terrorists. Hugo should examine Bush's treatment of Chiquita executives and demand similar treatment. The U.S. Justice Department sent no Chiquita leaders to Guantanamo Bay for their role in spreading international terror.

The company paid $1.7 million in protection money from 1997 to 2004. This after paying FARC from 1989 to 1997, the same terror group Chavez is accused of funding. Chiquita's penalty for financing terrorists was a $25 million fine while the CEO skittered off to run another company, Hollinger/Sun Times Media.

Today George W. Bush spoke on behalf of Columbia's President at the White House. He said:

America fully supports Colombia's democracy, and that we firmly oppose any acts of aggression that could destabilize the region. I told him that America will continue to stand with Colombia as it confronts violence and terror and fights drug traffickers.

As long as they aren't American corporations or their executives. Sounds like a banana republic?

Bush & Omert Brandish Middle East Sticks

Violent division took a brief break between Israel and the Palestinians as U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice tried to achieve Bush's vision of a two state solution. When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refused to play, the U.S. and Israel sharpened their canes. Consider the switches they're ready to throw.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni threatened to re-occupy Gaza. Whack! Take that Abbas.

Another Israeli leader suggested Egypt and Jordan might need to rule the Palestinian Territories given the current government's inability to address terrorists. Thwack! Did that sting Mahmoud?

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested Israel needs help in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat. "I don't think the Iranian issue is primarily Israel's responsibility," Olmert said during a meeting with Druse students in the village of Julis. "It is the responsibility of the United States and the responsibility of other members of the international community that are convinced that Iran constitutes a threat."

Oh yea, military force remains on the table. One could infer the U.S. and other countries would have a responsibility to support Israel if they choose that option. Olmert doesn't believe sanctions to date are enough to halt Iran in its race to attain nuclear weapons. "Israel definitely considers itself threatened by Iran, but Israel has the might to defend itself from any threat - no matter the circumstances."

And where was George W. while the Middle East continued fracturing? He met with Jordanian King Abdullah II at the White House. Ever the slacker, Bush thinks there's plenty of time to cram for a peace agreement. The current violence is but a simple step back. similar to a bad roll on a late night RISK game. Consider his words:

"Ten months is a long time. It's plenty of time to get a deal done." He said Rice was pushing the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to resume talks (recall those switches?). "I am optimistic that they can conclude tough negotiations," he said. "I'm still as optimistic as I was after Annapolis."

But is he still underhanded in his divide and conquer machinations? Eight years ago, I voted for a uniter. It appears I was way too optimistic. Still waiting...

Abbas Rebuffs Rice's Sleight of Hand Democracy

Secretary of State Condi Rice is having a bad decade. It seems wherever she goes, there is little to no impact. She can't even say "stop killing innocents" in Gaza where over 100 people were exterminated. Instead Ms. Rice offered "innocent people should not have to die." Yet, die they must as Israel defends itself militarily and Hamas continues its violent practice of making and shooting rockets into nearby Israeli neighborhoods.

It sounds much like Israel's incursion into Lebanon nearly two years ago to knock down the Hezbollah rocket threat. That ended in a cease fire, a word Ms. Rice won't touch in reference to Gaza. What complicates Condi's word choice? It's the old democracy, elections, political parties, terrorist razor blade edge. Palestinians voted Hamas into power in 2006 open elections. The U.S. refused to recognize the newly elected leaders and set out to divide and conquer the Palestinians from within. Abbas became their tool and apparently he's tired of it, at least at the expense of his people. Thus the Rice rebuff.

The Bush administration reaps what it sowed for the last seven years in the Middle East. Violent division blooms like a desert rose. U.S. weapons are used by both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to perpetuate harm. When leaders chose to solve their differences using violence, their people suffer terribly.

A pox of such leaders' political houses could provide them compassion for those suffering under their ruling hand. It should start with Bush and Rice, then spread through their conservative party. In a bi-partisan group hug, the pox could spread to Democrats, currently doing their best imitation of Republicans selling out to special interests. Yes, that includes Barack Obama and his dirty water. It remains to be seen how long Mr. Obama will have to shower to remove the offal.

Why do people choose narcissists to lead their country? What is it about the election process that screens out mutual and cooperative leadership? I don't know, but that pox might clean the slate enough for such leadership to arise. One can only hope...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Conservative Democracies Can Go to War With Whoever the Hell They Want

President Bush tried to convince the world that "democracies do not attack each other," but the data doesn't support his assertions. Democratic Israel invaded democratic Lebanon during the summer of 2006. More recently, Democratic Turkey sent troops into Iraq, the Middle East's newest democracy. And in our own hemisphere, Columbia made an incursion into Ecuador. Columbia's democratic neighbors, Venezuela and Ecuador took extreme offense to this violation of territorial sovereignty. The media play on this last exchange and its aftermath has been most telling.

According to the CIA Factbook Columbia, Ecuador and Venezuela are all federal republics like the United States. Each has a constitution and three branches of government. One would not know this from most media comments. President Uribe is presented as a reliable U.S. ally while Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa are called populists or leftists.

Who else has being called a populist in America's presidential primaries? Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been labelled with that moniker. Mrs. Clinton wants to repeal the Bush tax cuts on people making over $250,000 a year. That moves the marginal tax rate from 35% back to 39.6%. She wants to preserve the estate tax for estates valued at more than $7 million.

Asking people who have resources to pay for the privilege of living in America is part of our rich history. During the 20th century's major wars, the highest marginal tax rate varied between 70 and 90%. Yet, in our current war on terror tax rates are between 1/2 and 1/3 historical levels. We have a worn out military, aging infrastructure, and nearly one sixth of our citizens without health insurance. The war is financed by "off budget" appropriations estimated to reach $2-3 trillion dollars.

Meanwhile, "conservatives" call for more tax cuts for individuals and businesses, while those advocating seemingly reasonable proposals are labelled populists. Conservative democracies can attack whoever they want, whenever. The end justifies the means. But should a liberal democracy defend its territorial integrity, that will not be tolerated! Welcome to the rabbit hole...

Condi Rides in to Find Gazaization Threat

Absence of negotiations would lead to a 'Gazaization' of the West Bank, and anyone who can't see this is lying to himself."-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert threw a flaming bag of poo on the White House porch, just as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice exited on her way to seal the deal on Middle East peace. Condi's eyes gazed toward the horizon, intent on achieving the elusive peace prize before Bush's term mercifully ends. She failed to note Ehud's present and planted her extremely expensive heels into the burning bag.

Her boots skid in Ehud's flaming prank. This caused Condi's feet to fly up and the Secretary of State to go ass over tea kettle. Unfortunately this is a familiar sight to people in the Middle East. Ms. Rice suffered prior pratfalls over the Hamas election victory in 2006 and Israel's invasion of its democratic neighbor to the north that same year. Who says divide and conquer via small carrots and big sticks can't be entertaining? It's only the case for those living safely far away from the Bush team's bumbling interventions. Anybody ready for more than a two day break in the violence?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Condi to Visit Bush's Middle East, Now in Pieces

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories with the Gaza Strip ablaze in violence. Over 100 Gazans have been killed since Wednesday according to the Jerusalem Post. The President of the Palestinian Authority pulled out of peace talks with Israel and violent protests over the carnage broke out in the West Bank. One protest even united rival Palestinian groups, Hamas and Fatah. Hamas fighters continued launching rockets into nearby Israeli cities, the reason for the Gaza razing.

Condi plans to do shuttle diplomacy in the midst of an all out war. Sound familiar? She waited nearly a month to intervene in the summer of 2006 when Israel invaded Southern Lebanon, its democratic neighbor to the north. It took the United Nations nearly 30 days to take up that invasion. The world body did a bit better this time. They passed a resolution calling for both sides to immediately stop violence. Also, the European Union condemned Israel's disproportionate use of violence in Gaza.

Bush's divide and conquer policies in the Middle East find the region splintered along numerous lines. Condi visits, purportedly to pursue peace, but it looks more like she'll just wander amongst the many pieces.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Bush Laughs at Jordanian King's Message Yet Again

While Israel escalated its attack on the Gaza Strip, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas threatened to leave the negotiating table. President Bush promised to work hard on Middle East peace during his remaining year in office. Jordan's King Abdullah pleaded for our Chief Slacker to get off his kiester and do something about the rapidly deteriorating situation.

"America is the only world power capable of ensuring that the parties stay on track and on time in their current negotiations," Abdullah said."A victory by the enemies of peace, freedom, stability and moderation cannot be an option," he said. "If we miss today's opportunities, peace will be set back, perhaps for decades."

Israeli military leaders said an invasion of Gaza would lead to a Palestinian holocaust, while Abbas called the 33 deaths, 16 of them civilian, a massacre. If the parties aren't at the negotiating table, there will be no peace.

It's like the lottery, you can't win without buying a ticket. It looks like Israel wants to play scratch off with Gaza. That makes for bad odds on getting the greater prize.