Tuesday, May 23, 2006

World War III Waiting to Happen?

A comment on Americablog brought the following Boston Globe article to my attention last night: An Anti-Bush Alliance
The article expresses the fear that a new 'axis of evil' is forming, with the players including Russia, China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Mongolia, and a lot of countries whose names end in -stan. Please read the entire Globe article for details. I will highlight a few quotes;

"The purpose of this collaboration is to give form to a common policy of resisting what the governments in Beijing and Moscow have come to see as an aggressive, overbearing America."

"Acceptance of Iran by the organization at the very moment when the Islamic Republic is defying the International Atomic Energy Agency -- and when China and Russia are blocking US efforts to have the United Nations Security Council approve sanctions on Iran -- suggests a tectonic shift in geopolitics."

"Ironically, this is precisely what President Bush has pledged to prevent."

"But after five years of trial and error, it is clear that the Bush doctrine is having the opposite effect."

When a policy leads to the opposite of its intended effect, this is called incompetence.

Students of history may recognize what is going on here, and see what a disastrous error BushCo™ has made in foreign policy. The world, and not just Moscow and Beijing, have come to see America as 'aggressive and overbearing.' They are so frightened of the US as redefined by the PNAC-controlled neocon cabal that they are beginning to band together for mutual defense. The last time this happened was in response to the fascist alliance between Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy, and Hirohito's Japan.
The search string, 'fascist America' now returns 10,600,000 results from Google. I tried the same search a few weeks ago, and returned just under 8,000,000 results. Obviously the parallel between Hitler and Bush is becoming a common perception.
Common Dreams News Center has the following article by Robert Kennedy Jr., originally posted Jan. 22, 2005: Kennedy: Fascist America
Again, I urge you to read the entire article, it is very well written, but I will highlight a couple of passages;

"While communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business."

"My American Heritage Dictionary defines fascism as 'a system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership together with belligerent nationalism.' Sound familiar?"

"The White House has clearly grasped the lesson."

"The Republicans are 95 percent corrupt and the Democrats are 75 percent corrupt. They are accepting money from the same corporations. And of course, that is going to corrupt you."

This last quote is the one that should scare you the most. The elements in American society that might resist BushCo™'s regime are as follows; Congressional oversight, Senate oversight, Judicial oversight, Media oversight, Opposition oversight.
Needless to say, the Congress, Senate, and Supreme Court are all currently dominated by Republicans. The opposition Democrats are more like the Oppossum Democrats, demonstrating a remarkable ability to curl up in a ball and hibernate during times of crisis. The media, led by FOX "news" are doing all they can to enable the continuation of America's slouch towards Armageddon.
As James Madison said, "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands may justly be pronounced the very definition of a tyranny."

Hopes that the upcoming midterm elections will deliver America from her agony are misplaced on a number of counts. First, the recently introduced electronic form of balloting has shown itself to be easily manipulated, and many believe is responsible for BushCo™'s 2004 'victory' in Ohio. Second, even a Congress or Senate with a seeming Democratic majority will still have a large number of DINOs, Democrats In Name Only, who will vote with the Republicans more often than not, and always on critical issues. The name LIEberman comes to mind. 75% corrupt isn't going to be a significant change. And third and last, even in the highly unlikely event that a majority of squeaky-clean principled Democrats were to gain control of Congress, Senate, and in 2008 (or earlier, by impeachment) the White House, that new and hopeful administration would be saddled with a Supreme Court and corporate-dominated Media who would continue to obstruct them in every reform effort. Worse, they would have a huge federal debt to cope with, and a crippled economy. Remember that it was Germany's impoverishment from WWI reparations that allowed Hitler to manipulate the German people into accepting Nazi attacks against their neighbours.

Is this a bleak analysis of events? You bet! Blogger sans-cullotte, whose post on this subject appears here had the following reactions on the Americablog comment thread: "holy crap", and later, "That's WWIII Waiting to happen." Sans-culotte has one of the best amateur blogs on the web IMO. Hell, his comments on Americablog are one of the best things about Aravosis' site. I don't think he's overreacting here, and neither am I. By no means am I saying that those who oppose Bush should give up. I just think we all should fight harder knowing the seriousness of the opposition. Failure is not an option. I'll leave you with a few relevant quotes.

"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent" - Thomas Jefferson

"There are four boxes to use in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, ammo. Use in that order." - Ed Howdershelt

"Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man."
--Thomas Paine, referring to King George

Hat Tip to Nigel Elliot, whose comment at Americablog brought this to my attention.

Update: In further pursuit of this issue, I found the following from DailyKos, that I somehow missed a couple of weeks ago:

Shanghai Cooperation Organization

And here's the link to the SCO homepage:

SCO Home

Friday, May 19, 2006

National Security Trumps Constitution - As Usual

Justice TS Ellis, a district court judge in Virginia has dismissed the case of German citizen Khaled al-Masri against George Tenet and the CIA. Al-Masri alleges that he was kidnapped in Macedonia in 2003 and flown to Kabul Afghanistan, where he was tortured.
"The judge did not rule on the truth of the allegations, but said letting the case proceed might endanger security.
Rights group the American Civil Liberties Union brought the case on behalf of Mr. el-Masri - who was never charged with any terrorist offences."

As we keep seeing in these cases there was no useful information obtained by these heinous methods, and any chance of dealing with el-Masri if he was a terrorist was negated by the torture.

The rest, from Raw Story:

Judge Dismisses Torture Suit

Why is it that the magic words 'national security' always seem to trump the Constitution and Bill of Rights in America? I thought the Constitution was the supreme law of the land. I guess it's like the musical group The Supremes after Diana Ross left. They were kinda The Supremes, but not really.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Once Great Nation

The United States of America could once claim to be the greatest nation on earth, and the claim was close to undeniable. They had the best standard of living, the most powerful military, the best education system, the strongest currency, and most of all they had the unassailable might of the Constitution of the United States with its Bill of Rights. The prosperous, happy people were virtually guaranteed that their prosperity and happiness would continue.

When I was growing up in the 50's and 60's, I would have gladly gone along with the idea of having Canada join with the US. The excesses of the Nixon administration and the inadequate response to, and resolution of those excesses caused me to abandon that position. Nixon, in my opinion, made a direct and deliberate attack on the Constitution, overstepping the limits of his Presidential authority and threatening the rights of American citizens from the Oval Office. In an outrageous turn of events he was allowed to appoint his own successor, and that successor was allowed to pardon Nixon for any and all crimes committed in office. I believe this set a dangerous precedent, and was the first time in America someone had been pardoned of a crime (or multiple crimes) prior to being convicted or even charged.

The consequences of letting Nixon off the hook are what led to the present situation. By allowing Nixon to leave office, and by not pursuing the charges against him, the US congress and Justice Department gave a green light to later malfeasance. This led to the Reagan administration's reckless involvement in the Iran/Contra scandal. Which in some ways was worse than what Nixon had done. At least Nixon never gave American military weapons to a recognized enemy of the United States. This particular activity perfectly fits the definition of treason. And again, the response to high crimes and misdemeanors in direct defiance of constitutional protections was woefully inadequate. Vice President George Bush, who was likely at the helm of the conspiracy, became President and issued pardons to many of the malfactors. Major Oliver North was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, retired from the military, and actually went on to run for public office. Meanwhile Nixon was comfortably retired to San Clemente when he should have been in San Quentin, and acquired the status of elder statesman.

When history looks back at the shameful actions of the present administration there will be no question as to why he felt he could get away with such egregious, despicable and flagrant behaviour. They will just point to the outcomes of the Watergate and Iran/Contra scandals.

Try not to let it happen again. If by some unlikely convergence of events there is a chance the younger George Bush answers for his crimes, make sure he pays. After impeachment and conviction for treason, send him to the Hague for war-crimes investigations. Otherwise, the next time will be worse. Again.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

How Republicans Show Their Respect For Democracy

Someone named Ben posted the following question on a comment thread at Americablog today;

"Anybody notice that for the last half century, by and large, whenever a democrat is in office all is quiet, peace and prosperity prevail, but republicans usher in war and strife and deficit and depression?"

And I replied to that question with the following:

1954 - Eisenhower administration allows Dulles brothers to use CIA assets in the ouster of democratically elected Jacobo Arbenz of Guatamala, Arbenz is replaced by a military junta headed by Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas, plunging the country into chaos and long-lasting political turbulence.

1973 - Nixon administration complicit in violent overthrow of democratically elected socialist leader Salvador Allende. Allende is replaced by Augosto Pinochet, whose reign is marked by 'extensive human rights violations, both at home and abroad.'

1983 - Reagan administration opposes democratically elected Sandanista government of Nicaragua, backs Contras, leading to Iran/Contra scandal, weapons deals with Iran, installation of right-wing dictatorship in Nicaragua. Coup is marked by atrocities including the killing of priests and nuns. Authorization for crimes committed by Oliver North, John Poindexter, Caspar Weinberger etc., seems to have come from the office of Vice President, George Herbert Walker Bush.

Yeah, somebody noticed.

This is not a complete inventory of US actions worldwide that acted against the interests of democracy. Just the cases where a democratically elected ruler in the western hemisphere has been replaced to serve the interests of the American corporatocracy. It might give pause however, to anyone who is tempted to demonize the democratically elected president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. In Latin America, the US has long been the one wearing the horns and tail.

How is it that the American people can continue to vote for a party that has shown so much blatant contempt for democracy outside its own borders?

There's more, here.

Hat-tip to huffingtonpost for the animation, and to sans-culotte for bringing it to my attention.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

For All YOU Know

When I lived back in Vancouver, BC, a friend and I had a running 'inside' joke going for a couple of years that went like this; one of us would make a governmental-sounding statement (or sometimes, see it made on TV, or hear it on the radio), and then follow it with the phrase, "For All YOU know", in a heavy, fake, and bad Russian accent. Laughter would then ensue. This was, BTW, when the cold war was still on.

Example: "Mighty Soviet Union provides best health care and education for its citizens in all the world - For All YOU Know."

The point is, entities whether they be governments or corporations or whatever that make great effort to hide the truth may find their credibility to be less than sterling. I worked for a while with a very large corporation, in a customer-contact cubicle. You know, a phone room, in my particular case a help desk. The first act that one had to perform before being accepted as an employee of this firm was to sign a non-disclosure statement, vowing that you would never tell the public about the way the corporation worked internally. I think this was a good indication of the confidence they had in their good corporate citizenship. We, the little people used to refer to the corporatespeak tidbits that we were required to dispense daily thusly, " *** might call this a 'positioning statement'. I call it a lie".

How did I get so far into this post without mentioning George W. Bush and his current scandal with respect to the latest NSA wiretapping disclosure? If the American mainstream media was worth more than a pinch of shit, every story they reported on where the administration was completely devoid of outside scrutiny would be preceded AND followed by this phrase, "For All YOU Know". While Kira, Wolf, Britt, or whomever expounded on the supposed details of wiretapping, torture, renditions, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, ad nauseum, the same phrase, "For All YOU Know" would flash across the screen repeatedly. Every Republican apologist would be required to wear a sign around their neck, with the words "For All YOU Know" in letters a foot high.

Maybe then America would wake up. For all I know.

***=The name of a major North American computer manufacturer, who I am not at liberty to divulge. If I do, I think I signed away something that would allow them to put me in a cage full of wolverines, or something like that. I must confess, I didn't really read it that closely. I really needed a job.