Friday, June 30, 2006

Driving Across America

(This weekend, while most of the country is traveling, most likely stuck in a traffic jam, I thought I'd repost this little gem in honor of, well, driving across America)

We cut down trees and we plow down hills
To increase our motor skills
We're driving across America

Refineries can't match the pace
As we fill the space between each place
We're driving across America

Someday my friend
This all will end
And it will never be here again

We've all been spoiled by the cheap oil
We sucked it dry beneath the soil
We're driving across American

There is no way we will be saved
The whole country has been paved
We're driving across America

Someday my friend
This all will end
And they will never be here again

One thought prevails as we hit the trails
We'd rather move like snails than ride the rails
We're driving across America

(c)2005 KD Murphy
Thanks to James Howard Kunstler for inspiration

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Centrifuge of War

When is a war really necessary? Or not even a war, but a military action? Right now, we're faced with that question as North Korea is getting ready to test it's new Taepodong-2 missile, with a range of up to 9,300 miles. Walter Mondale, former Vice-President and one time presidential candidate has called for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea's missile program if they refuse to dismantle it. While the tough rhetoric is not surprising, even for a Democrat, one should note it is an election year. And of course, such a strategy doesn't allow for a follow-up, i.e., what to do when North Korea unleashes chemical weapons against Seoul? Well, the war planners haven't thought that far ahead, but they rarely do. Just look at Iraq.
North korea, which has had a moratorium on it's missile program since 1998, has been eager lately to hold talks with the current ADD-ministration. Even though it has been named by the Bush regime as a member of the Axis of Evil, there has been no desire to open talks with them. I'm sure the thinking has been "we'll get around to them", but they got sidetracked threatening every country in the Gulf Region. Like Iran.
Well, as far as Iran goes, back in 2003 Iran offered to hold talks with the US, putting everything from it's nuclear plan to recognition of Israel and end of support for Palestinians on the table, only to nbe rebuffed, by, you guessed it, the Bush ADD-ministration. they were busy planning war with Iraq, well, like our plans for North Korea, the bombing part, not the dealing with the aftermath part, but when you suffer from ADD, you always remember-baby steps. This led to the replacement of a moderate president with a hardliner and voila! Another reason for war! So now we have two potential wars that could have been potentially avoided, if the White House wasn't occupied by neocon war mongers, intent on enriching Republican contractors in the centrifuge of war.
Well, how about Iraq? Certainly that war was necessary, right? Well, not really. You see, Saddam, perhaps reading the writing on the wall, offered to make a deal to avert war as well. This deal would allow US soldiers and weapons inspectors in to search his whole country, hold elections, recognise Israel, and hand over a suspect in the 1993 World trade Center bombing sitting in an Iraqi jail. Of course, the offer went through the self-avowed prince of darkness, Richard Perle, who stepped down from his position on the Pentagon's Citizen Advisory Board rather than give up the oppurtunity to make billions off said war with Iraq.
So, there you have it. Wars started for solely for the necessity of a group of greedy bastards to siphon off more tax payer dollars (while getting a nice tax cut in return). What the fuck, blood money spends the same as hard earned cash, and maybe they'll pull a Warren Buffet or Bill Gates and donate large chunks of their billions to charity. But I wouldn't count on that any more than I would count on the US ground based interceptors actually averting a missile attack. And you can rest assured that after $43 billion it doesn't work, neither does the guy who got the defense contract to build it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

"Abducted", Or Captured?

At no other time in American history has the (American) English language taken such a beating. And I don't mean the manglings by Our Supreme Leader in his speeches, either. Prisoners of War become 'enemy combatants' so we don't have to follow the protocols of the Geneva Accords. Threats against Iran become diplomacy. Insurgents become terrorists and permanent bases become an exit strategy.
Now two American soldiers have been 'abducted' by masked gun men. I guess that makes it sound more like a crime has been committed than saying they were captured, thereby making criminals out of the perpetrators. Now, I hope these men get back home safely to their families. It goes without saying that if the current administration didn't have such a hard-on for the Iraqi oil, none of this would have happened. But of all the Iraqis in US custody, not to mention the 'enemy combatants' at Guantanamo, how many of them were abducted? All? Some ? None?
Perhaps this is a new strategy of the insurgency, rather than kill Americans, which has no effect on the Bush regime or it's supporters, a dead soldier is just one more veteran whose benefits they don't have to cut five years from now. A prisoner of war, or 'kidnap victim', is more than just a bargaining chip, it is a source of anxiety for a nation already uneasy about a war we were assured would be quick and painless. Now forces must be diverted to a rescue in order to save the chickenhawks from getting egg on their face.
Why? Remember the photos of Iraqis at the hands of American soldiers at Abu Ghraib? How would we react to American servicemen in the same type of poses? Not a pretty picture, but who was the one who opened up that pandora's box in the first place? This is why America shouldn't be condoning torture, or issue signing statements to laws forbidding torture that state we're not going to follow this law. Because there will come a time when our soldiers will be captured by enemy forces. Our complaints won't be taken seriously because we're doing the same things ourselves. And the people responsible for these atrocities in the current administration will fail to take any responsibility at all, because they lacked the foresight to see this happening.

What Makes A Father Makes A Son

Does daddy need a day off? In the weeks preceding Father's Day, advertising seemed to think the best way a father could spend his day was on a golf course, or somewhere else, engaged in activities that took him away from his children. Not all family dynamics are the same, but I fail to see where a father benefits from spending even less time with his children.
At the pool yesterday, a grandmother was there with her two grandsons, swimming, when she realized it was Father's Day today."We'll have to buy a present for you to give to him when you see him next week,"she offered to them. That started me to thinking, why weren't they with him this weekend? They weren't with their mother, so why not let him have them on this weekend? I know, custody rights and all, and the divorce agreement probably stipulated that he only see them every other week, or one weekend a month, but to me it seemed spiteful on the part of the mom to keep the children on the one weekend they should be with their dad, especially since she dumped them on her mom. It made me a little more thankful my ex is flexible on the times I get to spend with my kids.
But it also started me to think about my own father, and all the Hell he went through and still managed to raise five kids. My dad loved us, and enjoyed being with us as much as possible. But growing up, that was difficult, as he had to put in long hours at his job to cover medical bills incurred by my mother's bout with cancer.
At times he could be fun, I remember the games of hide and seek in the dark in the whole house we used to play. We lived in a spooky old house, with three floors and a full basement, and nights after dinner, we would turn out all the lights and play hide and seek. It was fun until everybody had been found except dad, who could be lurking anywhere in the shadows, waiting to jump out at any second.
But he also very strict, having spent time in the Marines, rising to the rank of sergeant. He had my mother's old sorority paddle that he would use on us if we misbehaved, until we hid it from him, which made it worse, as he would then resort to his belt, conveniently located around his waist. Back then, corporal punishment was still acceptable, and my father, being raised by two alcoholics, probably didn't know any different. I still cringe when I hear some WT wish they could "still beat their kids", we were paddled as a punishment, not beat out of frustration as these people seem to want to do. Even worse, though, was the yelling. Get his "Irish" up and you'd be wishing he would hit you. His eyebrows would come together, his ears would turn red, and our friends down the block would ask if that was our dad they heard yelling.
Politically, my dad was a reactionary. In the sixties, he belonged to the John Birch Society, which he joined, because he was concerned about protecting the rights of the individual, and left when they became convinced everything was a communist plot. In fact, I remember a tract he had that us kids enjoyed because it reprinted all our favorite top forty song lyrics. Who knew the Monkees were so subversive? But as we grew older, he became less reactionary and more conservative libertarian.
This was following my mother's death, and after her struggle against cancer. Often times, he would have to work all day, come home and take care of five unruly kids and a bedridden wife, and never lost his faith (although we children all did). He even switched careers before she passed, giving up his job in the insurance industry so he could spend more time at home.
I often wonder, what he would be like now? Before he passed, he was a Clinton hater. He may have listened to Rush Limbaugh, so would he be a Bush supporter? The highlight of any Father's day barbecue was the chance to argue politics with him, and we all ganged up on him, be as we were all to the left of him. But there was one thing I remember to this day that leaves me wondering.
When I was a teenager, and his anti-communist stance had settled down some (we were kicking their ass in the Cold War), I asked him, what was wrong with communism?
Well, he said, for one thing they spy on their citizens. You can't trust your neighbor, as they might turn you into the government. You can't sign a treaty with them, as they would never keep it, and break it as soon as possible. They torture people, and don't allow the people to speak out against the government. So I wonder, would my father accept this if it came draped in an American flag?
Probably. He was a Fox News watcher, after all.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A New Number Two (But The Same Old Shit)

It didn't take long. In less than a week, a new leader was chosen for al-qaeda, which makes me wonder what kind of campaign process they must have. What, no mudslinging (Abdul gets his IED materials from Zionists!) or outlandish campaign promises (vote for me and I promise twice as many virgins when you die fighting the infidels!)? You'd think they'd be lining up for miles to be the point man for the US propaganda campaign against Islam.
But now the US has a new face and voice of Al Qaeda to put fear into the hearts and minds of the beer swilling flag waving chemically imbalanced brain damaged NASCAR watching monkeys before they had time to think "Well, we got Zarqawi, isn't it time to bring our troops home?" Even though most of the fighting between US troops and Iraqis involve the insurgency, the US makes no distinction between Al qaeda and the insurgency (just as it makes no distinction between combatants and civilians) . As long as they have a boogey man to wag at the people who'll make video and audio tapes to be released right before election time, everything's cool!
What this really points up is the futility of the currents strategy of the war on terrorism. Terrorists are like dandelions, mow one down and ten more pop up in their place. And, like dandelions, to get rid of terrorists, you have to get at the roots. But there is no intention of ending terrorism by the US, only exploiting it and defining every military action in the Middle east as part of "the war on terrorism", such as the impending war with Iran, as an excuse to establish a permanent military prescence in the region.
Which means that the war will go on for generations. Someday, you may be able to tell your grandchildren that you remember when we actually had the rights and freedoms that the troops are dying for overseas. And I'm more than certain there'll be a new number two al Qaeda guy.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Is This The End To The Iranian "Crisis"?

Today, the Iran situation took one step closer to resolution, with Iran agreeing to suspend uranium enrichment in exchange for some nuclear technology from the US. Does this mean that it's okay to the US for Iran to have nuclear technology, as long as it comes from the US? Perhaps that's what the current administration was so upset about, a chance for major party contributors to make billions being lost to Russia. But in a way, it makes sense for Iran to choose nuclear technology from the US.
Look at it this way, in the last, oh, we'll say, thirty years, the only problem the US has had with nuclear power was Three Mile Island, which, as bad is it was, looks like a skinned knee compared to the Russian's nuclear catastrophe, Chernobyl. I mean, if you are going to get in an accident, which would you rather be driving, a Hummer, or a Yugo?
So, perhaps this is a first, Iran and the US coming together for the first time since the Hostage Crisis of 1979 (if you don't include that whole Iran-Contra arms for hostages thing. We do, but the media and the government don't because they want you to forget it ever happened)to resolve their differences. Iran has stated that they will continue to price their oil in dollars, not euros, which miffed Hugo Chavez, who's looking for a way to end the "dollar's dictatorship". (Don't worry Hugo, Bush has two and a half more years in office)
Perhaps if the whole thing is settled, and the US has no reason to attack Iran (that grinding noise you hear is merely Dick Cheney, gritting his teeth), the price of oil per barrel will go down, as it has risen steadily with the increasing tensions between the two countries. Which means another quarter of record profits for the oil companies and Americans can remove that "For Sale" sign off their boats and SUVs. So Americans can hop in their vehicles, looking forward to another summer of "easy motoring" (Thank you Jim Kunstler!), and crank up their CD players and iPods to drown out those voices who still are there reminding us about peak oil.
Does this suggest a change in diplomatic strategies within the current administration? No longer threatening nations, but actually working with them to successfully resolve issues between them? If so, then we must applaud them for avoiding a catstrophe that would have made Iraq look like the invasion of Grenada. Perhaps this will continue, and all conflicts can be resolved peacefully.
Finally, what are we to think about the pre-war propaganda in the corporate media about the possible war with Iran being part of "The War On Terrorism"? Does it mean that the war in Iran was never actually part of the war on terrorism, but merely used as a convenient excuse to justify a pre-emptive strike against a sovereign nation, much the same way the war in Iraq was erroneously linked to "The War On Terrorism"? Or will another reason to attack Iran pop up, possibly right before November's elections?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Gay Marriages? Again? Must Be An Election Year!

They should just call it the Bush ADD-ministration, they can't seem to stay focused on an issue long enough to bring about a solution to anything. Last month, it was all about illegal immigrants, they can't seem to stay focused on the wars they are still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan without wanting to start another one in Iran, leaving problems that as Bush has said himself, another president will have to deal with.
Now they're back to whole gay marriage issue again, with Bush using his weakly radio address to throw his support behind a bill in the Senate that is sure not to pass. And why not? Opposing gay marriages worked so well for them in 2004, well, that and a boatload of vote fraud, why not trot it out again? Nothing gets those red staters madder than "activist judges" who legislate from the bench (as opposed to activist executives who legislate from the signing statements) and Bush needs to get them to the polls to keep up the appearance that, despite falling poll numbers, the people prefer Republicans, so when they retain Congress through continued vote fraud, the corporate media will have an issue to point to as the root cause for their success.
So why not restrict the freedom of homosexuals who wish to take a vow in a civil service pledging their undying love for each other? Everybody else's freedoms are becoming more restricted by this administration, why not pick on the gays too? Plus Bush gets to play up to the thumpies who labor under the misguided belief that God prefers the US over the rest of the world. Yeah, that makes sense. There's a whole fucking planet, but God's only going to favor the greediest and most wasteful nation on it. If you believe that, you'd probably believe you could leg press a ton using a protein shake developed by Pat Robertson.
So while there is a wealth of real problems facing this country, and it's future, let's focus on something that isn't hurting anything. That's what you call compassonate conservatism!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Straight From The Horse's Ass

Good news! Iran has voluntarily agreed to suspend it's uranium enrichment activities! Of course, all it asks for in return are security assurances from the US that it has no plans to invade or attack. A quick, diplomatic solution to the Iranian "Crisis", right?
The US, specifically, the Bush administration, refuses to give the security assurances Iran has asked for. In fact, it has refused any diplomatic efforts until Iran suspends it's uranium enrichment. Is the US wrong for refusing to negotiate with a sovereign state acting well within it's rights under the NPT to acquire nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, or is Iran wrong for asking for assurances that the US has no intention of "pre-emptively" striking at Iran?
The next step, following the Iraq model for seriously fucking up the United States, is to take the matter to the UN, where it will ask for sanctions against Iran, even thought IAEA chairman Mohammed el-Baradei says Iran is not an immediate threat. And even though Russian and China, who both have deals with Iran, are sure to veto those sanctions. This is when the US once again acts unilaterally.
Says who?
CAVUTO: That we would, I’m sorry Ambassador, that we would act alone if we had to?
BOLTON: That’s why he says no option is taken off the table. But it’s also why he has, the President, has reached out President Putin and other leaders in the past couple of days to say, “We’re making a significant step here,” that will be criticized by many of the president’s staunchest supporters here at home. But he’s taking this step to show strength and American leadership and to say he’s willing to do something that may be unpopular even with some of his supporters, to remove all excuses from Iran and its supporters to say, “We went the extra mile. We gave Iran really, this last chance to show that they are serious when they say they don’t want nuclear weapons.” This is put or shut up time for Iran.

So there you have it, straight from the horse's ass, the US intends on acting unilaterally against Iran, regardless of the consequences. But at least they put on a nice dog and pony show for the beer swilling brain damaged chemically imbalanced NASCAR watching morons out there. And in the end, isn't that all that matters?