Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bipartisan Sleight of Hand

In a move worthy of a master magician, both Republicans and Democrats divert the people's attention. Noted liberal site, Think Progress had two fluff posts today. The first dealt with the largest Confederate Flag, soon to fly over Tampa, Florida. The second dealt with masseuse George W. Bush giving a Minnesota Congresswoman crap for wearing "pink gloves". Over at conservative Little Green Footballs, Barack Obama quits his church, while the McClellan discounters rehearse their lines for tomorrow morning's political shows.

So what are they hiding? It's the annual AIPAC meeting. Don't look at the little green men behind the curtain frantically pulling levers, trying not to flush their political party's chances in upcoming elections. The envious men are searching for the "bomb Iran" button, in hopes it could improve their dismal approval ratings. Both Democrats and Republicans pretend nothing is going on behind the flapping linen. The problem is one corrupt, incompetent leader keeps getting in the way of the other. It's the Bush/Olmert dark comedy team and it's almost 3:00 am. Quick, more fluff! The red phone could soon be ringing...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Yosemite Sam Invited to Shoot 'em Up in Yosemite

Fifty one Senators, 42 Republicans and 9 Democrats, asked Interior Department head, Dirk Kempthorne to change the rule prohibiting the ready use of firearms in America's National Parks. On behalf of the National Rifle Association, the Congressmen and women wrote the chief bureaucrat in December 2007 and February 2008. Be sure to let those Senators know how you feel, especially if you run across Yosemite Sam defending his cooler from a black bear.

Freedom to Wear Multiple Hats (or Yalmulkes)

A strong wind is garnering powerful forces in Washington, D.C. I fear it may be the perfect storm. Seemingly unrelated stories flutter around in the ill breeze. Consider a few:

1. Israel's defense industry exported $10 billion worth of products the last two years. They're now number 4 in the world in defense related trade. Israel, as did the U.S., boycotted the meeting where 111 nations agreed to ban the use of cluster munitions.

2. The rhetoric regarding the Iranian threat escalated the last few months in the Israeli media. On the Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post websites, I've noticed harsher statements and more Bush like "evidence" regarding the looming threat of an Iran with nuclear weapons.

3. American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee, also known as AIPAC, meeting runs next week in our nation's capital. Last year saw the Democratic controlled House of Representatives wilt on any requirement that President Bush get Congressional approval before attacking Iran. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi capitulated, almost on stage at the event. All the Presidential hopefuls will be in tow, Obama, McCain, and Clinton. In addition Condi Rice will speak, as will Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a leader equally unpopular as his counterpart, President George W. Bush.

4. While 7,000 people will attend the big event, more than 400 investment bankers, hedge fund managers and financial professionals attended AIPAC's third annual Wall Street event in Manhattan. They heard neo-conservative hawk, Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey stress "the myriad threats to the United States and Israel from radical Islamic terrorists and the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran. AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr also offered his take on recent developments in the Middle East and emphasized the importance of strong ties between the United States and Israel."

5. The former Chief Financial Officer of the Pentagon, Dov S. Zakheim, is a strong supporter of American-Israeli relations. Dov serves as Chair of the Office of Government and International Affairs for the American Jewish Committee. He had this to say about the organization while serving as the CFO for the Defense Department:

"More than any other organization, the American Jewish Committee represents the very best of America and the best of Jews."—Dov Zakheim, U.S. Undersecretary of Defense

In 2004, he joined the huge government consulting division of Booz, Allen & Hamilton as their Vice President for Global Defense clients. Recall Israel's rapid growth in exporting weapon systems and defense products? Early this month, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke at the annual meeting of Dov's American Jewish Committee. America's top military leader said, "We will stand by you (Israel) always." The next morning Dov, who serves on Mike's Defense Business Board, appeared in an AJC press release on the looming Iranian threat. It stated:

Dov Zakheim, Chair of the AJC’s International Relations Commission, lauded the efforts of Levey and his colleagues as absolutely essential in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Here's what the AJC said two days ago regarding the escalating Iranian threat:

In view of Iran’s intransigence, and the threat it poses to peace and security, AJC calls upon the international community, in particular IAEA’s Board of Directors and the UN Security Council, to show vigilance and determination with regard to Iran.

Iran's repeated calls to wipe Israel off the map; its pursuit of long range missiles; its meddling in the internal affairs of other states; and its support of terror organizations are glaring examples of the regime's intent to undermine regional and international attempts at reconciliation. Such threats would be profoundly elevated were Iran to acquire nuclear weapons capability.

Guess what will be topic #1 next week in Washington, D.C. Wall Street already has its chips in play on how to profit from any moves. Over 7,000 cheerleaders could be screaming for another preventive war. I bet the two lame ducks of Bush and Olmert give it to them. We may see soon the impact of bombs over Tehran. Who will lead and who will follow?

Tossing Tea Across the Pond

A look at our European counterparts finds a distinctly Bostonian tradition, protest. Rather than toss tea in the harbor over government taxes, fisherman parked their boats over 300% fuel price increases the last 5 years. U.S. President George W. Bush noted rising fuel costs are like a tax to the average citizen.

The protest involved Belgian, British, French, Spanish and Portuguese fisherman and lorry drivers. They've even threatened a port blockade. Pony up on your protest skills, America! The light may be coming from across the pond this time...

Freedom to Sell Cluster Munitions

Despite a call from 111 countries for a ban on cluster bombs, four nations skipped the talks. Major manufacturers of cluster munitions, the United States, Israel, Russia and India, let their absence do the talking. Israel chose not to attend since "it has to deal with well-known security threats and is opposed to a comprehensive ban on cluster bombs." It also sells weapons and defense products, $10 billion worth over the last two years according to the chief of export sales at the Defense Ministry. Who'd have thought jobs and money would rank higher than lives?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

CNN Protects Fran from McClellan Book Blowback on Ccccaffertty File

Acerbic Jack Cafferty must aim his double barrelled shotgun away from fellow CNN News commenters. That's the only justification I can find for not approving the submission below regarding Scott McClellan's new book, which happens to bash the Bush administration:

Q: How will Scott McClellan’s book affect the presidential election?

A: The question should be how Scotty’s book will impact all the ex-White House spin masters spread across the media. They’re the ones with screen time to drop message blurbs to manipulate voters. Fran Townsend sits alongside Jack Cafferty at CNN in such a role. She took umbrage to McClellan’s stating the obvious on a botched Katrina response. It’s hard to manage a domestic disaster response from a plane bound for Saudi Arabia, right Fran? As for her follow up investigation, that whitewash should have kept her from any future journalistic role. At least we have Jack!

Alan from San Angelo, TX 2:47 pm (Your comment is awaiting moderation, even though it's 2 and 1/2 hours later, Jack just read his favorite responses on air and comments have been closed.)

We got your back Fran! We've circled the wagons to protect you from any stray horns, the Texas long variety.

Ex-Bushies Free to Call Names

Now that Karl Rove, Scott McClellan and Frances Townsend have graduated from White House junior high school, they are free to call each other names in public. Who knew they would fight over the historical significance of Principal George W. Bush's acts in office?

Fawning Fran, of "you are such a man", took umbrage when Scotty, no longer the wooden puppet of Georgepetto, confessed he told untruths as Bush's White House Press Secretary. But Scott soiled Fran's litter box with a pulpous stool when he noted the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina. That started the cat fight, now rather public given Mrs. Townsend's CNN appointment.

Frances Townsend, former Homeland Security adviser to Bush, said advisers to the president should speak up when they have policy concerns. "Scott never did that on any of these issues as best I can remember or as best as I know from any of my White House colleagues," said Townsend, now a CNN contributor. "For him to do this now strikes me as self-serving, disingenuous and unprofessional."

Scott was generous in not mentioning the foul odor emanating from Fran's Lessons Learned report. How does one do a competent investigation when they omit any mention of the hospital with the largest number of patient deaths from the report? Will Fran ask herself that question on the air as a new CNN commenter? Doubtful.

Meanwhile, Karl opined on Scott's tome from his FOX News commenter role. He noted "that the excerpts from the book he's read sound more like they were written by a "left-wing logger" than his former colleague." (I take it CNN meant "blogger".) My suspicion that Scott wasn't important enough to be invited into policy development meetings turned out to be correct. He was but a mouthpiece, which makes Fran's and Karl's current sniping easier.

But ditzy Dana Perino, now occupying the high tech wooden doll podium, simply called Scotty's remarks "sad". I guess she liked him better as Bush's Charlie McCarthy mouthpiece. Smile Dana and pay no attention to the strange sensation in the middle of your back!

Those paying attention knew Scott's nose grew enough during the Bush Presidency to make those wooden rocking chairs George W. spoke of when McClellan officially stepped down. Now that he's a real boy again, it's maddeningly hard to pull the strings. But Scotty's junior high classmates can run him down. Yes, they can.

Bush to Roll Dice (Bomb) on Iran by 3:00 am (August)

The Asia Times reported President George W. Bush plans to attack Iran's Revolutionary Guards by August. They cited an informed source, an ex-senior person in the State Department. The paper also noted two U.S. Senators submitted an o0-ed piece to the New York Times that is yet to run.

Here's my analogy, and it's much darker than Bush's beating his golf shoe on the podium at the Knesset. It's 3:00 am in his all night RISK game and young George just downed a beer bong of liquid courage. Let's hope he can keep it down. Yaking all over the board leaves quite the mess. How many innocents watching will get hit by the splatter?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bush Unaware of Iraq Soccer Gaffe

In the President's Memorial Day speech, George W. Bush referred to Army Specialist Ronald Tucker of Fountain, Colorado. He said this of soldier Tucker:

As a young man, Ronnie was known for having an infectious smile and a prankster's sense of humor. And then he joined the United States Army, which brought out a more mature side in him. Ronnie transformed from a lighthearted teenager into a devoted soldier and a dutiful son who called his mother every day from his post in Iraq. In his final act of duty, less than a month ago, he worked with other members of his unit to build a soccer field for Iraqi children. As he drove back to his base, an enemy bomb robbed him of his life. And today our nation grieves for the loss of Ronnie Tucker.

The world is aware of the unifying capacity of sports. America recalls the rag tag group of hockey players that won Olympic gold against all odds in Lake Placid, New York. Last year, the Iraqi National Soccer team, the "Lions of Two Rivers" won the Asian Cup. What George Bush's speechwriter did not know was the Iraqi government issued a decree May 20th that dissolves their Olympic Committee and all sports federations, including soccer. As a result, FIFA announced the Iraqi National team would be banned from all international competition for a year, unless their national federation is quickly re-established. George W. Bush also noted in his speech:

"It is a solemn reminder of the cost of freedom that the number of headstones in a place such as this grows with every new Memorial Day. In a world where freedom is constantly under attack and in a world where our security is challenged, the joys of liberty are often purchased by the sacrifices of those who serve a cause greater than themselves. "

Who knew the "Lions of Two Rivers" would lose their freedom to play international matches in a free and democratic Iraq? How do those Iraqi children, now playing on a Ronnie Tucker built field, feel about this development? (Update 5-29-08: Fifa relaxes Iraq World Cup ban. 6-12-08 IOC keeps their ban in place)

Democratic Iraq Goes Decree Crazy!

On May 20th the Iraqi government issued a decree dissolving its Olympic Committee and all national sports associations. As a result, the Iraqi Soccer team, winners of the last Asian Cup, will be suspended from international play for one year by the sport's governing body, FIFA.

The move shows CPA Chief Paul Bremer-like insight. Recall his dissolving the Iraq Army, the one group capable of keeping Iraq's divided society in order? Well, someone in the current government threw a bucket of cold water on one of the few groups to unite the Iraqi people the last five years, their national soccer team known as the "Lions of Two Rivers."

After their Asian cup win, a fan had this to say, “Once again, our national team has shown that there is only one, united Iraq.” The Baghdad policeman also noted, “The players have made us proud, not the greedy politicians." Politicians with decrees. It sounds more like a monarchy than democracy. Welcome to secret executive orders and signing statements. But it's all for the good of the people....

Carter Again Speaks of That Which Shall Not be Named

Ex-President Jimmy Carter followed up last month's Israeli shunning by stating the Jewish State has 150 nuclear weapons. This came atop his prior revelations that the United States does indeed torture. The man who decades ago led peace talks between Israel and its neighbors, Egypt and Jordan, continued negotiating on behalf of beleaguered Palestinians. His current counterpart, President George W. Bush showed his obvious preference for Israel during his 60th anniversary visit. Reports have Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas deeply concerned about Bush's obvious bias toward Israel.

Meanwhile the Middle East fuse continues to burn as the Israel/U.S. rhetoric towards Iran grows more inflammatory by the hour. Iran's ill intent toward getting the aforementioned nuclear weapons means all options remain on the table, including using nuclear weapons to prevent another country from obtaining them. Welcome to the rabbit hole!

How were President Carter's comments received? First, the Israeli government didn't respond. Instead a former military intelligence chief, now retired, provided commentary. Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Aharon Ze'evi Farkash shot the messenger with his statement:

"He is not the first and he won't be the last to talk about this," Farkash said during an interview with Israel Radio. "I think the dialogue about Israel on this subject is known, and I wouldn't want to expand on this; as it is, it would seem that in [Carter's] latest visit to the region, he was so hurt [by the political establishment shunning him] that he saw fit to say things which I think weren't that responsible.

"He was a president a long time ago, and these kinds of things could do damage, but on the other hand, it could enhance the deterrent," Farkash continued, but added that with regards to the current international effort to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions, "they, the enemy, or some of our 'less good' friends, could use these claims against us

A long time ago, Israel reached out to its neighbors to forge peace with aid of President Carter. While they repeat the mantra, the Jewish State seems to want settlements, land, and the implements of war more than peace. Watch, look, and listen. There is much still to discern. However, all signs point to a joint U.S. and Israeli handcuffing of the region, Gaza, Syria, Iran and Southern Lebanon. What they can't do economically, they'll do with sudden and overwhelming force.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Iran's Post Attack Options Limited & Weak

At least that's the conclusion made by Patrick Clawson and Michael Eisenstadt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in their paper "The Last Resort". Haaretz reported:

The main point, notes Dr. Clawson (in an interview with the paper), is that the success or failure of a military attack depends on many variables, and not just the degree of damage the attack would cause.

The variables include types of weapons used, but the authors hone in on world public opinion as critical. Israel has to create the circumstances in which world public opinion will understand Israel and its motives, even if the public doesn't like the attack. Iran's intransigence and President Ahmadinejad's inflammatory statements help greatly in this regard.

Ironically, Dr. Clawson's attempt to minimize the outcome of an attack points to a wider conflagration. Consider his words to Haaretz on Iran's likely missile response:

Interviewer: But most experts estimate that in the event of an Israeli attack, the Iranians will respond with force and launch Shihab missiles at Israel.

Clawson: It is possible, but first, the Shihab missiles are not considered particularly reliable. Iran deploys them without having done hardly any significant tests. Second, the Shihab's guidance system is not very accurate. The missile's range of accuracy is up to a kilometer. And finally, Israel's aerial defense system - the Arrow missiles would certainly intercept quite a few Shihab missiles. Moreover, Iran's firing missiles at Israel would enable Israel to respond in a decisive manner.

Thus any missiles aimed at Israel would still strike the country, but could miss their target by a kilometer. Should Jewish and Arab citizens living within 1 km of strategic sites move in the case of an attack?

As for the Arrow defense system, what percent of Iranian missiles would be intercepted? What does "quite a few" mean? President Bush just offered to help shore up the Arrow system in his visit to Israel for its 60th birthday party.

But the kicker in the above response is "firing missiles at Israel would enable Israel to respond in a decisive manner." That means escalation and a wider conflagration, the thing Dr. Clawson is minimizing. So who is this person pushing for an attack on Iran, or at least challenging their military ability to respond? Patrick Clawson is Deputy Director for The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Numerous neo-conservatives sit on their advisory board, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and James Woolsey. Rebuilding America's Defenses, a study produced by the Project for the New American Century advocated military action against both Iraq and Iran. It looks like the boys may get their wish, courtesy of Israel, the U.S. or a combined effort.

Don't worry about Clawson's comment about the use of nuclear weapons in an attack to prevent another country from obtaining them. The world hasn't gone completely mad, just blatantly narcissistic.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chinese New Year Evident in U.S.Foreign Policy

In the Year of the Goat, President Bush invaded Iraq in his pre-emptive war to make the world a safer place. The Chinese also refer to their calendar as the year of the Sheep or Ram. While the American people brayed in support, George W. rammed American military might deep into Iraq. The divided Iraqi people turned President Bush's "Mission Accomplished" sign into goat fodder.

2007 saw the Year of the Pig, where Wall Street's newest industry, securitized mortgages had nearly everyone overstuffed from gorging at the trough. Greed permeated nearly every level of the home buying, mortgage writing and securitizing process. But one can only gorge so long before breaking. Droppings attracted rats, which multiplied full force in 2008.

Our current Year of the Rat finds governments spying willy nilly on their people, reconnaissance planes getting lost over islands with enemy military bases and presidential residences, and Americans blaming the Chinese for torture at Guantanamo Bay. It seems our elected officials fit the rat pattern of enterprising, aggressive and manipulative.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Under the GIM's Radar

While the TimesUK ran a piece on 'Big Brother', a huge database on the British public, Radar magazine reported on a wide Bush spying initiative called Main Core. "The Last Roundup" described "the program." According to a senior government official…”There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.” … One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention. The article also stated:

"... it’s rare to hear a voice like that of Senator Frank Church, who in the 1970s led the explosive investigations into U.S. domestic intelligence crimes that prompted the very reforms now being eroded. “The technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny,” Church pointed out in 1975. “And there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know.”

Combine this statement with the recent announcement of the sale of Booz, Allen & Hamilton’s government consulting and intelligence services division to the infamous Carlyle Group. What would a Frank Church say about that development? My guess is he'd opine, "Welcome to the government industrial monstrosity. Smile, you're on Bush's candid camera."

NFL Dumps Union Deal, Free to Innovate the Game

The Associated Press reported NFL owners voted unanimously Tuesday to end their labor agreement with the players' union in 2011. The league and union, however, insisted the next three seasons won't be interrupted by a contract dispute and both sides are working toward a new deal.

The league will have three years to strategically refocus, like American corporations. They desire to pay players less and to strike a deal more beneficial to owners. Will they look for cheaper talent in other parts of the world? How can rules changes further such a goal? If Thomas can answer my internet service provider technical questions with an Indian accent, why can't Vincent block on an offensive line while sweating curry spice?

It's coming, the new NFL. Welcome to the National Fricket League...

It's 3:00 am in Bush Presidency RISK Game

"Bush intends to attack Iran before the end of his term" read this morning's Jerusalem Post headline. A senior Israeli official leaked the news to Army Radio.

The official claimed that a senior member of the president's entourage, which concluded a trip to Israel last week, said during a closed meeting that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were of the opinion that military action was called for.

Bush, the officials said, opined that Hizbullah's show of strength was evidence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's growing influence. They said that according to Bush, "the disease must be treated - not its symptoms.

However, the official continued, "the hesitancy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice" was preventing the administration from deciding to launch such an attack on the Islamic Republic, for the time being.

That and moving a few more pieces into the region. Now where are those lucky dice? It's 3:00 am in the Bush Presidency, the time with the least light. Hold on tight, George W. has a legacy (egoic dysfunction) to leave the world.

Monday, May 19, 2008

U.S. Recon Aircraft Lost?

For three minutes an American Naval S-3 reconnaissance plane talked with Venezuelan authorities. During that time, the aircraft made its way over La Orchila, an island with a military base and one of President Hugo (Huge Ego) Chavez's residences.

The official U.S. excuse is a naval plane on a counter-narcotics mission had "navigational problems" that led it to briefly enter Venezuelan airspace. "A US S-3 aircraft conducting counter-drugs operations lost navigational situational awareness causing it to fly into Venezuelan airspace off the mainland coast," the statement added.

What are the odds a reconnaissance aircraft would lose situational awareness over key Venezuelan military and political assets?

Rumors of Palestinian Freedom's Failure

The Jerusalem Post reported Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has come to the conclusion that peace talks have failed.

Prior to his departure from Sharm el-Sheikh, Abbas was informed that the United States intended to backtrack on efforts to achieve progress in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. The report was given to Abbas from a European source, who claimed that the Americans were not interested in exerting pressure or confronting Israel, and that the US was "allowing Israel full freedom to take a stance which would serve its policies, its security, and its interests alone."

Another diplomatic source told the paper that the PA president received reports that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Shas chairman Eli Yishai had come to an understanding in which the former has promised the latter that plans to build thousands of apartment units around Jerusalem and in the West Bank would be approved - this in an attempt to reinforce the premier's foundering coalition.

Given these reports, the source told the paper that Abbas planned to give a speech in Ramallah, during which he would announce that negotiations had failed and blame Israel for the failure. The source added that the PA president would also blame the US for its lack of commitment to the peace process.

However, the U.S. does know how to invest in violence. There's an Iran to attack and Democrats to squash. George W.'s checklist is pretty full, even without an Annapolis peace initiative. It seems to have been process after all. (Israeli Foreign Minister and rumored future Prime Minister Tzipi Livni sandbagged with her revelation, "Israel and the Palestinians are not likely to reach agreement on the core issues during 2008.")

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Boots & Wallets Drive Governmental Leader Decision Making

American President George W. Bush relies on generals and their "boots on the ground" to make strategic military decisions. To his surprise, George encountered a similar response from Saudi monarchs. Bush pleaded for the Saudis to raise oil production to stem soaring gasoline prices. They made clear that they saw no reason to increase oil production until their customers demanded it, until they heard it from "wallets on the ground".

According to statistics, Saudi Arabia exports 9.2 million barrels per day, with a capacity of 11 million barrels. In 2006 the Saudis produced 10.6 million barrels per day. Production is down, as 16% of their capacity sits idle.

The United States gets only 14% of its daily oil addiction from Saudi Arabia. The largest providers of oil are America's neighbors, Canada and Mexico. In the same range as Saudi Arabia are Venezuela, Nigeria, and Angola.

But King Abdullah's customers aren't demanding a price reduction. If he's as insulated as President Bush, the monarch has no clue as to reality. In the rare event Saudi security services stumble across this post, here's a comment from one wallet on the ground. "Ouch! You're prices hurt and are driving me crazy." Pass it up the chain of command.

But despite their intransigence, guess what the Saudis get from this administration? In addition to $2o billion in high tech arms sales, Bush showed up with an agreement for the U.S. to assist the kingdom in developing civilian nuclear power. Another agreement involves U.S. promises to help protect any Saudi nuclear infrastructure with training, the exchange of experts and other support services as needed

Before his trip to celebrate Israel's 60th Anniversary, President Bush seemed resigned to high oil prices. He told CBS Radio that the "demand for oil is so high relative to supply these days that there's just not a lot of excess capacity." What? Saudi Arabia has 1.8 billion barrels a day offline, while Nigeria has over 1 million idled due to civil strife.

Bush lied yet again, but at least he behaved during his visit. Haaretz reported Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said the discussion with Bush about oil was friendly. "He didn't punch any tables or shout at anybody," the minister said. "I think he was satisfied."

That stands in stark contrast to George W.'s talk at Israel's Knesset. He symbolically banged his genuine Ostrich skin FootJoy golf shoe on the podium while railing against Democratic Nazi "appeasers." Never mind, Bush's family history of Nazi support, much less his fascist-like integration of business and government. Let's hope those generals and customers on the ground start giving these insular leaders their version of reality. In involves people mad as hell, not wanting to take it anymore.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Model Democracies Expand Influence in RISK-like Fashion

In the game of global domination, two democratic countries stand hand in hand, the United States and Israel. American President George W. Bush spent many a late night at Yale throwing the dice in his attempt to take over a board game world. He appears to be re-enacting the good ole days as his Presidency winds down.

Bush is in Israel helping the Jewish state celebrate its 60 birthday. In his talk to the Israeli Knesset, their parliament, George W. called Israel "the freest democracy in the Middle East" and said the United States is "proud to be Israel's closest ally and best friend." While Carole King's "You've Got a Friend" played in the background, it could easily have been "You and Me Against the World." Place yourself in the role of the chief Palestinian negotiator. How would that "best friend" statement make you feel about America's brokering a fair peace deal?

As for the model democracy assertion, Israel has the big money influence on politics, just like Washington, D.C. The same man funding Swift Boat political ads has been interviewed regarding illegal funds to Bush's counterpart, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Ironically, Sheldon Adelson introduced President Bush during a 60th Anniversary event. It seems stonewalling legal investigations of influence peddling is an art in both democratic societies.

Bush and Olmert took the opportunity to crank up the rhetoric yet another notch on the Iranian nuclear threat. The U.S. President promised to prevent another Masada, the final Roman siege that felled Judea. Jewish citizens killed each other and themselves to rob the Romans of a just victory.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said prior to the address: "The United States and Israel share a belief that all people have the right to live in peace, that democracy is the best way to ensure human rights, that religious liberty is fundamental to civilized society and that using violence to achieve political objectives is always wrong."

I suggest anyone attacked by George W. Bush's or Ehud Olmert's military use this statement in an international court, given their established right to live in peace. If only Mr. Johndroe added economic objectives as a problematic cause for war. America's military industrial complex has morphed into a government industrial monstrosity. It's gargantuan appetite can longer be fed domestically, thus it now faces tomorrow with international aspirations. Of course, media mogul Rupert Murdoch is willing to do his part. America's march to war with the Persian version of Hitler continues step by step.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

NYT Pentagon Piece in Play

The New York Times recently revealed the Pentagon employed bullying tactics to motivate retired military generals to spout the party line in their role as media commenter's. One benefit for playing along was business for various firms affiliated with those same generals. Many retired military big wigs sit on the Board of Directors or serve as high paid consultants for defense and intelligence firms.

Last week, two retired generals, Peter Pace and Barry McCaffrey, spoke at the Leon Panetta Lecture in Monterey, California. Let's start with the more recently retired Peter, who landed numerous corporate positions with defense and government contractors. Consider some of his statements:

On military preparedness, Pace said the armed forces are stretched thin by Iraq and "it would be ugly" if called upon to respond to another crisis. (Hold onto your shorts this coming hurricane season.)

As for Iraq, Pace said the mission today is to keep the number of terrorist acts below the level at which an Iraqi government can function. (Ever heard the term mission creep?)

Iraq's many problems will not be solved, Pace said, without economic development and a political system that can instill hope in Iraqis that they have a future. (What model for economic development is Peter recommending? Flooding the country with billions in cash provided the means to buy and make weapons. Might he want a Disney like skateboard park? Is there any chance SM&A Advisers could help businesses get in on government sponsored commerce? I don't recall which U.S. firm owns the patent on hope, but I'm sure they can be motivated to spread it in Iraq for the right price.)

Pace defended the original military planning for the Iraq invasion based on the intelligence available at the time, but admitted "I was wrong" on the threat of chemical weapons, and about whether Saddam's military would stay and help rebuild the country. "Instead, they disintegrated," Pace said. (Laughable, the Iraqi army was dismissed by Paul L. Bremer, head of the U.S. led Coalition Provisional Authority)

Arquilla and Pace cited the threat of cyberterrorism as one that could unhinge our computer-dependent defense information systems as well as much of this country's infrastructure and economic systems. (Thus, Uncle Sam will need to spend cajillions of dollars to secure our vulnerable information systems and Peter has the right firm to consult with both sides!)

While Peter's comments took up most of the piece, General Barry McCaffery got a few remarks on newsprint. They include:

McCaffrey said today's military is the best prepared and trained in the nation's history, but "completely overstressed," with too many combat tours for too many people.

McCaffrey said the Bush administration's "surge" strategy has worked, and he praised Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who he said has wisdom, experience and is a team player -- in contrast to his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, who, said McCaffrey, had "terrible judgment." McCaffrey also said Iraq is "not a lost cause" but it will be at least three years before significant U.S. troop withdrawals can begin. "Our troops have put a lot of blood" into Iraq, McCaffrey said. "They don't want to fail." (Whoa, earlier Peter said the problems were economic and political? How can the military provide an economic and political system replete with hope?)

Regarding Iran, McCaffrey said not much can be done to militarily seek and destroy nuclear devices in that country, but that Iran needs to know the U.S. will launch a massive pre-emptive first strike if our military is convinced of an imminent nuclear threat to our armed forces or national security. (Barry, hello! Israel's Mossad cites Iran's ability to have a nuclear weapon by the end of 2008, middle of 2009. Can you say imminent?)

McCaffrey said, however, much of the world hates our current administration and our foreign policy and that the next president needs to move in the direction of collaboration, both globally and within our own government. (President Bush is a uniter, not a divider.)

The best warfare tools we have, he said, are our values and our Constitution. (I don't believe our military is equipped with these. And where does waterboarding fit in our values and Constitution?)

It takes a strong constitution to stomach all this "expert commentary". How is a citizen to know whether the Pentagon is still pulling the strings on these marionettes?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Bush to Light Candles on Israel's 60th Birthday Cake

President George W. Bush visits the Middle East next week after the big weekend wedding of Jenna and Henry. Both events involve cake, however only the Israeli birthday version will have candles. I'd be very careful striking any matches in the terribly divided region, a virtual powderkeg after eight years of Bush fracturing.

Guess who wants a funeral dirge vs. a celebration of life? It would be Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the longtime recipient of Bush shunning. American and Israeli leaders rapidly increased their inflammatory language of late. Nearly everyone that runs with George calls Mahmoud the modern version of Hitler.

With sixty birthday candles ready for flame, President Ahmadinejad tried to throw water on the party by calling Israel a "dead rat" and a "stinking corpse". The Jerusalem Post reported:

"Those who think they can revive the stinking corpse of the usurping and fake Israeli regime by throwing a birthday party are seriously mistaken," the official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as having said. "Today the reason for the Zionist regime's existence is questioned and this regime is on its way to annihilation."

I'd be very careful using the "a" word around George W. Bush and Ehud Olmert. Both men would love to kick some Iranian "a" before they leave office. Will they do it together or will one act alone?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Looming Iranian Threat

To advance the case for violence, rhetoric must rise. Israel has done its part the last month to paint the Iranian leader as a crazed, nuclear armed Hitler. The Jewish state believes Iran is racing toward nuclear weapons. The Jerusalem Post reported on just released intelligence:

The new assessment moves up Israel's forecasts on Teheran's nuclear program by almost a full year - from 2009 to the end of 2008. According to the new timeline, Iran could have a nuclear weapon by the middle of next year.

Last week, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said during a visit to the US that Teheran would likely achieve control of the technology to enrich uranium for an atomic bomb within a year.

It helps to have multiple experts aligned on the threat, repeating it numerous times from various angles. Today's BBC ran a piece on satellite military intelligence. Of course, the General mentioned the Iranian threat at the end of the story.

Gen Chilton said he was very concerned about two things in Iran - its long-range missile programme and its nuclear programme. He drew a parallel with North Korea's activities in both these areas. He said there was now a need to bring the US defence system "well in advance of what looks like advancing missile technology and nuclear research for weapons in Iran".

What will Israel and the U.S. do to prevent Iran from reaching the projected end of 2008 milestone? They have less than seven months to do something, according to Israeli intelligence.

It's 3:00 am and President Bush tosses the dice in his late night/term RISK game. George's life prepared him for this very moment. Never underestimate his desire to solve problems with win/lose strategies, especially violence. C'mon, double sixes!

Free to Work for FBI for Free

The FBI sponsors a program called InfraGard©. Their mission is to provide a trusted forum for the exchange of knowledge, experience and information related to the protection of our nation’s critical infrastructure from both physical and cyber threats. Infragard combines two trends of the current U.S. government, a reliance on voluntary conduct and contracting out functions to the private sector.

The formalization of InfraGard’s private sector corporate structure allows the INMA and its member IMAs to engage federal, state, and local stakeholders in new and productive programs that are outside the purview of the FBI. This makes the program flexible and agile enough to meet the needs of a wide range of stakeholders in the public and private arena. The INMA currently has an MOU in place with DHS and is working closely with additional government entities.

As a nonprofit corporate entity, InfraGard is not constrained by its original mandate. In an odd imitation of today's private equity corporate structure, InfraGard is not just one corporate entity.

The InfraGard National Members Alliance’s (INMA) The INMA is a non-profit Delaware LLC with 501(c)3 status. The INMA LLC is comprised of 86 separate 501(c)3 InfraGard Member Alliances (IMAs) that represent over 24,000 InfraGard Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) nationwide.

Two years ago, I personally contacted the FBI via their website with concerns about protecting American citizens in unprecedented disasters. Having never heard anything back, maybe the best strategy is to join InfraGard. As the past Disaster Chairman at a Texas Gulf Coast hospital, surely they'd be open to my joining. However, the process sounds daunting:

In order to maintain a level of trust within the membership, all applicants undergo a background check performed by the FBI (for this reason InfraGard membership is currently limited to United States citizens). Applications are then screened according to a defined criteria and then passed to the local chapter for final acceptance (individual chapters may have more strict criteria).

Hopefully San Angelo, with all its patriots, will soon have a chapter. Or maybe I should move to Austin. I think they need me. With nearly 25,000 members, none have yet to post anything on public health and health care. Having experienced both situations, I have lots of material on dead, flooded hospitals and the challenge of evacuating acute care patients while a record strength hurricane churns in the Gulf of Mexico.

If I can blog for free, I can work for the FBI for a similar amount. Just know it will go to the back burner when paying work comes up or when a natural disaster strikes.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Magically Metabolized Humans Free to Kill

The research arm of the Defense Department is looking to flip a switch in the human body that allows soldiers to burn calories while fighting, as if they were sitting at rest. Alaskan sled dogs have this capability and use it during 1,000 mile races where they run virtually nonstop for two weeks.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has invested at least $1.7 million to study this phenomenon. The New York Times reported:

If researchers identify the biomarker, or “switch,” that could help the military understand and develop ways to control and prevent the physiological effects of fatigue in strenuous cases like combat.

“Soldiers’ duties often require extreme exertion, which causes them to become fatigued,” Jan Walker of Darpa wrote in an e-mail message. “Severe fatigue can result in a compromised immune system, making soldiers more susceptible to illness or injury.”

And what of people trying to survive after a natural disaster or in the midst of a war? Could this help millions of people displaced by conflict or trying to survive after a widespread disaster? Of course, it could. But our leaders think of weaponizing technology first.

I hope the Defense Department doesn't look at its fighting men and women as just another input that needs to be maximized. Don't farmers give cows medicines to produce more milk? Got metabolic magic?

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Coming Iranian Attack

The chess pieces continue to move toward a likely check mate with Iran. Last week, Iranian leaders announced they would no longer trade oil using the U.S. dollar. CBS News reported plans were being drawn up to attack Iran, speculating the country's nuclear facilities as a likely target. Rupert Murdoch's Times Online morphed the story to an attack on an Iranian insurgent training camp.

As the week closed, Israel reported an intelligence "breakthrough", which also came via Murdoch's Sunday Times. It stated:

A source quoted by the paper on Sunday claimed that the new information was on par with intelligence that led to the discovery and destruction of a partly constructed nuclear reactor in Syria last September. Israeli officials believe the US will revise its analysis of Iran's program.

Right now, American, British and Israeli leaders are plotting what to do about Iran. Not long ago, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff rattled his saber, saying the U.S. military had the Air Force and Naval capacity to attack Iran. Today, he discounts an impending "war" with Iran, a la Iraq.

In the word parsing Bush administration, that leaves plenty of wiggle room for a surgical strike. Unfortunately, our Commander in Chief is not known for his competence. We've seen evidence of his past botched surgeries. This one could be particularly bloody.

Bush's lackeys from Iraq are in place to launch another round of laser guided missiles in the Middle East. Paul Wolfowitz is in a key State Department role heading up WMD intelligence. Sitting on the President's Intelligence Oversight Board are ex-Homeland Security Chief Fran Townsend and General Peter Pace, ready to rubber stamp another pre-emptive de-Hitlerizing strike.

As the bad news hits the airwaves, who stands ready to defend her old boss? Frances Fragos Townsend sits as a contributor to CNN, alongside Tony Snow. Fran set aside her call to do global risk management for an investment house to support the cause of twenty four hour a day news. Just as the Pentagon fed retired military media consultants, Bush will pull the strings on his ex-employees.

It's getting closer to check mate every day. Don't count on our compromised media for the honest reporting. Our government believes we can't handle the truth, thus it spends time and energy on manipulative machinations. Master Bush has one more retaliatory impulse to exercise and he will find a way.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Freedom to Distort

Fran Townsend will join CNN as a contributor, specializing in homeland security advice. I suggest the following question for her first on air interview. Why did the White House Lessons Learned report on Hurricane Katrina omit any mention of the hospital with the largest number of patient deaths? LifeCare's New Orleans long term acute care facility lost 24 patients post landfall.

While Wolf Blitzer has Fran on air, ask her how her global risk management job search is proceeding? She wanted to work for an investment house. Funny, she covered for a politically connected private equity underwriter (PEU) with her LifeCare omission. The Carlyle Group has to be happy about her overlooking that important detail as the company enters numerous wrongful death civil lawsuits. Guess what their lawyers came up with for a defense? It's Fran and company's fault! Maybe, Jack Cafferty can get her on record with some real answers.

She left the White House last November quaking in her heels over subpoenas. It's time she answered questions, preferably under oath. If this is the level of news person CNN chooses to employ, our country is in deep trouble. First 60 Minutes turned into a non-entity, now it's CNN. Who will do investigative reporting? Don't tell me it's up to those terrorist bloggers!

Freedom to Attack

The Jerusalem Post reported on an Israeli intelligence breakthrough regarding Iran's nuclear enrichment program. It compared the revelation to the intelligence that prompted Israel's military attack on a Syrian site. Does that mean bombs over Tehran in the near future? The world has seen weeks of increasingly hostile rhetoric between U.S./Israeli leaders and their Iranian counterparts. Let's hope "breakthrough" doesn't mean lie.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Free to Swift Boat, Use Voter ID'S

America's electoral process is inflamed and in need of Freedhem. Indiana voters are free to pay the modern day poll tax via the driver's license fee. The picture ID is required in that state for a citizen to vote. The Supreme Court upheld Indiana's voter ID laws.

Lucky folks with good eyesight, enough vitality, and a valid license will be free to hear attack ads in the months before the November election. Non-profit 527 organizations will pull out the stops to launch negative campaigns on behalf of their above the fray candidates. The term for such gutter political efforts is "swift boating", named after the campaign that ran down Senator John Kerry's military service in Vietnam. People donating millions of dollars to manipulate America's political process are free to deduct those gifts from their taxes owed to Uncle Sam.

Best of all, candidates in a tough political battle for their party's nomination are free to prognosticate who will be "swift boated" worse. Clinton supporter Senator Evan Bayh told the Washington Post that the GOP may swift boat Barack Obama over his now broken ties to firebrand Reverend Jeremiah Wright. What Evan didn't say, is he and Hillary don't mess with "swift boats", not when one can ride on a "stately yacht" named The PEU Boys. PEU stands for private equity underwriter.

So what if Hillary's husband privatized the security investigations branch of the federal government. Who cares that The Carlyle Group flipped USIS for huge gains? Does it really matter that two ex. Clinton staffers, Mack McLarty and David Marchick, sit in high levels with the Carlyle fold? And what about Hillary's black backer, Robert L. Johnson, and his joint venture with Carlyle? Who arranged her recent, invitation only talk at an Indiana Allison Transmission plant, a fairly new Carlyle affiliate?

As for Hillary's big supporter, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, Carlyle is his number seven lifetime donor. Who knows that he recently defended sovereign wealth funds like Abu Dhabi, which not long ago purchased 7.5% of The Carlyle Group? So what if the Bayh household grossed over $1.5 million from his wife's flipping her WellPoint stock options, granted for her loyal board service? Her 2007 take from sales of WellPoint stock provided a $372,000 boost to the family income. How might the Senator favor private health insurers in any planned reforms, especially if ends up as Hillary's Vice Presidential running mate? Could the country go from Cheney's Halliburton to the Bayh's WellPoint?

Obviously, none of the above matters. Americans treasure one freedhem above all others, the fantasy of sharing a brew in a frosty mug with their next president. Evan Bayh noted in his WaPo interview, the ability of the opposition to paint someone as an alcohol snob:

"You're running for president and people want to get a sense of who you are, and when you're new to the public stage you're a little more susceptible to having the canvas painted in by your political opponents."

Hillary can not only down a cold one, she can throw back a shot of Jack Daniels to boot. So America, it's time to belly up to the voter bar and pull the lever. But you'd better have your photo ID.