05 January 2008

At long last, the elections have started.........sort of

Well, yippeeeeee. The election "cycle" has finally had the official start. It seems to me they have been running for president for the last three years, at least.
I have a comment or three about it, of course. I also have one observation to pass along. First off, the "observation" as it were. Earlier today I caught a quick glimpse of a headline to the effect, Is America color blind? It was referring to Obama winning the Iowa caucus.
My short answer, NO. Why? Well, I read a very good commentary about Senator Obama on Counterpunch the other day. Of course I cannot find the article to give you the link, I'm still looking for it.
Basically the article had the premise that it was time for a change and as Obama is not of the "boomer" generation, he is younger, the young voters were energized by his candidacy. Well, I hope they are. Honestly. Having more Americans involved in the election process has got to be a good thing. If none of us bother to vote, then we will be stuck with whatever the "powers that be" decide to stick us with. Yes, I KNOW that things aren't really much different than that today. I keep hoping we will get REAL change, and having the young people joining the process is a plus in my opinion.

I even have a cousin, whom I email regularly who told me this past summer that he was leaning towards Mr. Obama. My cousin is a few years older than me, so even us "boomers" like him.
I have yet to decide who/whom to back for president. By the time Louisiana has its primary the field will probably be quite a bit smaller than it is now. And, we have had Senators Dodd and Biden quit already.
Getting back to the Counterpunch article, the writer said that it was time for the "boomer" generation to step aside and let the "kids" (my words here) take command.Well, this is how I felt (bet many "boomers" felt this way also) when Billy Bob Bubba Clinton ran back in 92. We were tired of the World War Two generation (in the person of papa Bush) running things. Hell, I was so wrapped up in "one of us" running for president that I even voted for him instead of for the candidate from the "Peace and Freedom Party". Big mistake, but, heck, I'm only human.
Now one could say that "our" generation has "only" run the show for going on 16 years now. Eight years of Billy Bob and now going on eight years of the Shrubster. Not a very long time in power. But, one must also ask, and be damned HONEST about the answers here, just what have "we" done with our "turn" at being in charge.
OK, what have "we" done? Well, we had the first lady "chair" a secret gathering to set national health care policy. It went nowhere fast. We bombed in Bosnia and Kosovo. Two small countries in the Balkans that America has no business messing with. Thanks Billy Bob and Hi-Larry. Yes, Ma Clinton pushed Bill to bomb. And of course Mad-ass Albright asked old General Powell why we had that big army if "we" weren't going to use it. Of course old Mad-ass also said she thought it was "worth it" that our sanctions after Gulf Wart One (thanks papa Shrub) had killed an estimated 500,00 Iraqi children. Worth it? The un-necessary deaths of 500,000 children was worth it? Who the goddamn fuck is this bitch? Oh, she was our damn-bastard to the UN and Secretary of State. See who preceded Condi? Holy shit! Where do we get theses assholes from? Granted Mad-ass was born in what was Czechoslovakia, so maybe her ideas of a constitutional republic may differ from ours. Maybe human suffering, in her opinion, is different from my idea of it. We cut and ran from Somalia on Bill's watch. We continued to kiss the ass end of Israel, of course. We bombed Iraq on a regular basis. There were those "no fly" zones, remember? We fired a few cruise missile at Sudan, we thought bin-Laden was there. We fired a few cruise missile at Afghanistan, we thought bin-Laden was there. We had old Greenspan as head of the Fed, setting the stage for the dot com bubble and our current housing/credit bubble.
We invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. We have threatened to bomb/invade Iran. We have made Pakistan even worse. We have allowed Palestine to degrade even further, how much worse can that poor country(?) get?
Those are just a few of the things that my generation has done while "running the show". Maybe it IS time to have the next generation step up and have a shot at running things. I don't think they could do much worse.
OK, now for another "take" on the Iowa "election". I caught a glimpse of that headline asking if America is "color blind" because Obama won. I do not think so. I wish it were, but I really think he won because people DO want change and there was not very much else to choose from in the donkey gang.
Poor Hi-Larry. The ONLY group that she really won was with women over 60. Poor Hi-Larry is having a hard time of this election. The majority of the establishment types was that she would have a "cake walk" into the nomination. Oooops! Not to be by the looks of things. Apparently the folks in Iowa didn't think very much of her "experience" as first lady and her short time as a US Senator from New York. Well, bless her little heart. Sorry Hi-Larry, but you are toast. Go back to New York, suck up to the bankers, corporate big shots and the defence contractors.
Obama HAS connected with college kids at least. It has been reported that they went back to their home towns for this caucus and voted for him. This is unusual as the college folks don't usually do this sort of thing during their school breaks. We tend to think of them having one big party while on break. This winter, in Iowa, they voted! Outstanding!
For democracy to truly function, we NEED and engaged, informed citizenry. Looks like we have that in Iowa. No we will see how it goes in the next primaries.
Look for the Clinton gang to take every cheap shot in the books, and some that aren't in the books, at Obama. This is going to get very nasty. Hi-Larry hates to lose.
On the elephant side, Huckabee won. Yep, the Baptist preacher beat the Mormon business guy. Both are former governors, if that means much. I have a very hard time trying to imagine either as leader of more than a pack of demented cub scouts, but that is me. One could always vote for Dr. Ron Paul. He is still running as a Republican. Of course, he has been excluded from the TV debates set for tomorrow on the Faux Noise Nutwork. No surprise there. The establishment does NOT want him to have any real shot at the nomination.
Any way you look at this deal, it is going to be fun for those of us who sit back and watch it all open up. You can bet the farm that both gangs will be throwing tons of mud at each other, if they haven't started already. Make sure you wear your rain gear while watching this election process folks. As Justin Raimondo says, get out the popcorn and find a comfy chair, it is going to be fun watching this one.
semper fi

30 December 2007

Follow on to the Pakistan entry

A few things that I forgot to mention in the latest entry here. Some day I intend to get the "hang" of this writing thing. You know, such items as making a rough outline, a list of "points" to make in an entry, and maybe even some sort of flow pattern for the entry. All that to add some sort of "logic", no, not necessarily to my "thoughts(?)" or rants, but to the overall "flow" of the entry. Trying to add any sort of "logic" to my rants is a total waste of time and energy. At a now official 60 years of age, trying to make my rants/thoughts/opinions contain logic, well, lets just say you might have an easier time of herding cats. By the way, I have heard of cats..........but that IS another story.
One of the things I should have added to the latest entry is in regards to how America has been trying, at least since the end of World War Two, to get the entire world to conform to the "wishes" of Washington D.C.
Now, to me at least, this is quite interesting in a perverse sort of way. Look at it this way, who the bloody damn hell are we Americans to tell the world how to live? Are "we" so pure of motive? Is our own history so squeaky clean? Are we the shining example of the "best" there is?
Let's examine these points. Bear with me, this could be long.
Who are "we" to go around telling others how to live? Well, that is one very good question. Anybody have an easy answer? Hey, even a hard answer will do. Well, "we", supposedly have a democratic republic. There aren't very many of those in the world. Does that give "us" some special "duty" to compel others to do as "we" wish them to do? Maybe, once upon a time, it MIGHT have been. If that time ever did exist. "We" no longer have much left of that democratic republic folks. No, this is NOT going to be a "blame Bush/Cheney" rant. This current administration is just the latest in a long line of crooks who have slowly eroded our liberties and freedoms over the years. One comment on this, remember the "Patriot Act"? Of course you do, it IS the law now. Ever wonder how this massive "bill" was produced so quickly? Easy, it had been written by the Clinton administration. The Bush gang just pulled it off the shelf and dusted it off.
Now, you might wonder, if Clinton had this travesty produced during his term(s) in office, why didn't he push it through Congress? They needed the "right set of circumstances" is why. What was "needed" was a "new Pearl Harbor" to ram this piece of shit through the legislative process. The attacks of 9/11 provided such justification for this to be fostered on the unsuspecting American public. Now, I do NOT claim that 9/11 was an inside job. I do not subscribe to any of the so-called conspiracy theories regards 9/11. To me, there are many unanswered questions about that attack. Until more information is available, I try to keep an open mind. It MAY have been an inside job, or it may not have been. Either way, it shook America and Americans wide awake, for a few months at least. Unfortunately, Bush told everybody to go shopping, so off most of us went. Do you see something odd here? I sure as hell do, but then, who the hell am I?
Our "motives" is up next. Well, to keep it simple, I will stay with our Iraq motives. Simple? More like simple minded.
There really isn't very much that is simple here. First, it was "pay back" for 9/11. But Iraq wasn't involved in the terror attacks. Oh, the neo-cons tried like the devil to force a connection. Meetings between Iraqi "security" officials and al-Qaeda representatives in Prague and other failed attempts. Then it was WMD! Yes sir, old Saddam had chemical and biological weapons! He was trying to make a nuke! We cannot wait for the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud!!! Oh, wait, the UN inspectors said he didn't have any. They had found NO evidence of any, in all of Iraq. Sure, Iraq did have them, once upon a time. Like during the war with Iran in the 1980's. Back in the days when Saddam was a "good buddy" to Ron Ray-gun. Why old Ron even sent his representative Donny Rumsfeld to meet with our buddy Saddam. Yes, that "famous" or is it infamous photo.
Well sir, after we invaded Iraq, we looked and looked, but never did find any of those WMD's. And for all those non-existent weapons of mass destruction, a covert CIA operative who was involved in keeping nuclear weapons OUT of the hands of some very nasty people, got "outed" and lost her cover and job. So, for not one goddamn thing of substance, America lost an experienced intelligence agent. Not a very good bargain in my opinion.
Then our motive became the spreading of democracy in the Middle East. Yes sir, don't you remember how democracy came to America? Why those sneaky Brits forced it upon us! They even fought a war with us to make damn sure America became a democracy! We still call it the "American Revolution", because the idea of democracy is so revolting to the political "leaders" of America even now more than 200 years later.
No, that won't wash as a motive any longer. Unspoken motive? Well, supposedly making that region of the world safer for the Zionist entity. Er, um, yep, Israel. Well, holy crap folks. Israel has the most modern, highly trained military force in the region. What more do they need? The Israelis even have nuclear weapons. Of course nobody is supposed to know that as they have never declared they have them. It is sort of an "open secret". No one is supposed to know about the Israeli nukes, but everybody knows they exist. Funny how things work in this crazy world.
I have NO idea what our motive in Iraq is today. I did not mention oil for a reason. The reason is, oil is NOT talked about in context with Iraq, except when the news is released that production has finally met the pre-invasion levels. Or when a pipeline is blown up, again. Personally, I do not think we went to Iraq to get the oil for America. It sure was NOT to keep us in cheap oil. Now, it could be we went to Iraq to control the flow of oil in the region. Also to have permanent bases, as the Saudi government (ruling family) wants us out of their country. All this leaves us with permanent bases in Iraq plus, the largest embassy in the entire world, right there in Iraq.
Our history. Here "we" get into some difficulty when "we" proclaim how righteous "we" are. First off, there is the genocide of the native peoples of what is now the United States. This of course is still ongoing. The poor (literally and figuratively) peoples who live on the Indian reservations are some of the worst off people in the entire world. A national shame is barely scratching the surface of that tragic mess. OK, keeping it short(?, we'll let the natives be for now. How about the Africans? "We" imported them here. We went out looking to "buy" them and then bring them here and put them to work. Slavery, it was called. Yes, it is in the Bible, so is sodomy and many other things we frown upon. Just because something is in a particular religious book does NOT make it right. Oh, but old charlie IS a heathen of course. Yes, I am, and damn proud of it.
"We" treated those poor Africans like shit. Not all of us. Even many slave owners were somewhat kindly toward their slaves. They had to be. Slaves were an investment. Like a new piece of machinery. You don't pay good money for a new tractor or slave, then go out and just totally abuse it/him/her. That makes no sense at all. No, I am not trying to justify slavery, I personally think it is a crime against humanity. I do not have slaves, obviously, as nobody in America really "owns" another person. Many of us are/were wage slaves, but this is getting off track. My grandparents didn't have slaves either. They came to America in the early 1900's as teenagers/young adults. I do not believe they would have owned or even wanted slaves anyway. Even if they had been slave owners, that would not make me guilty. I refuse to be punished for any "sins" of my ancestors. Now, for my own "sins"/crimes? Sure, they would be mine and I would take responsibility for them. Well, we sure didn't "do right" by our imported Africans.
Well, this short and very incomplete "history" review doesn't help with "our" wanting to "lead the world" by example now does it? Our "track record" doesn't look so good.
Now I am NOT anti-American. Hell, I served (honorably) in the Marines. I did my tour in Vietnam. I love America, I just think our government is out of control, and in no way able to demand that the world do as we tell them to do.
How about today? What is our example to the world of "good behavior" to be followed? Well, I already mentioned the "Patriot Act". To this we can add the abuses at Abu Ghraib, Bagram air base, and of course the one in the news the most, Guantanamo. The old "we don't torture" crap is very stale and there are very few "believers" for that line of bullshit today. We can't forget the "Military Commissions Act", which makes hash of the Constitution and civil liberty here in America. The "Homegrown Terrorist" bill that I ranted on a few entries ago is in there also. The abuses here at home alone are too numerous to mention. Hell, it is hard to remember them all! So much bullshit, and all in just about seven years. Seven years? Time flies when you're having fun. Maybe that is why it just seems like Bush/Cheney have been in power our entire adult lives.
Pardon me, but I fail to see how having the Constitution shredded, our civil liberties trampled upon,our mail and email read without a warrant, our phone calls tapped, our banking records monitored, even the books we check out of the library monitored can be anything remotely like fun. And believe me, I have an odd sense of fun. I was a Marine, remember.
All in all, I fail to see how "we" are any sort of example for the world to emulate. If anything, America today serves as a bad, indeed a very bad, example. More like a "what NOT to do sort of example. And somehow "we" feel it is our duty(!) to lead the world, to show the people the way forward!??? Good grief! Even old Charlie Brown would NOT try to kick that football.
America, it is way past time for action. WE, the people of America, need to restore our democratic republic while there is anything left of it to restore.
semper fi

Follow on to the Pakistan entry

Pakistan .........of course

Well, poor old Pakistan is back on the front pages of American newspapers again. All it took was for a political assassination to get there.
This murder was not a surprise to anybody who has any knowledge of that country and the relatively recent history of it. In fact it could have been seen coming by a blind man.
The "big question" of the moment is; who is responsible for her death. Well, one candidate, indirectly, is the US of A and the criminal Bush administration. Bush and crew had worked out some sort of deal between Ms. Bhutto and the current leader of Pakistan, Mr. Musharraf for her to return to Pakistan and run in the up-coming elections. This "deal" included, among other things, dropping the corruption charges pending against her. During her two terms as prime minister, she is alleged to have "skimmed" close to $1 billion dollars from the national treasury. Being leader can pay quite well for some. Her husband had earned(?) the nick-name of "Mr. 10 Percent" as all government contracts apparently had to have his approval, which included a 10% fee, paid to him of course. Not a bad deal, keep it in the family, ya know.
America and the policy makers in the government had to have know all this before they set up any sort of deal. Hell, I knew some of this and I do not make it a point to study current events in Pakistan. I just had paid attention to news in the past, oh say 45+ years of my life. Why only that time period? Well, I am just 60 years old is why.
If I can pay attention to news, even what passes for news in the America of today, one would think(?) that the high ranking members of our government would do so as well. Hell, shouldn't our State Department people be "up" on the world news? I sure as hell think it would be demanded of them. Why else do they have a job in the State Department if they don't have a clue to what is happening in the world. Among other qualifications for employment in the State Department, I would think knowing world history would be right near the top. Of course, I only have an Associates degree from a community college, so what the hell do I know? Not enough to have a government job. Or, maybe I DO know enough to not work for the government.
Either way, the Bush administration has some responsibility for the death of Ms. Bhutto. No, it is not enough for them to be taken to court for it. I do not even accuse them of being involved with her death. Only to point out that by brokering a deal for her return to Pakistan, they were, indirectly perhaps, but still doing so, setting up the circumstances that did lead to her death. Had she remained in self-imposed exile, she would not have been killed as she was. She may have lived to a ripe old age. I would guess that the idea of returning to power was too much for her to pass up. I guess having power, then being out of power makes one crave to be back in power again. I wouldn't know, I never had any power to lose, thankfully.
Another thing being said about the late Ms. Bhutto is that she was the "last best hope" for democracy in Pakistan. Bullshit! She was not a democrat by any means. She was NOT a woman of her people either. She cared about as much for the average Pakistani as Bush cares for the average American. She, like Bush, craved power and money. Period.
Another thing for you to think on. Ms. Bhutto helped the Taliban government in Afghanistan. In fact, during her reign as prime minister, Pakistan was one of the very few countries in the world to officially recognize the Taliban government.Her government also aided the Taliban with money and arms, so I find it hard to call her a democrat, or an anti-terrorist leader. Then, as with our own government, your terrorist just might be my freedom fighter. It all seems to depend on who is naming the "terrorists".
For the record, I want to add that I am saddened by the death of Ms. Bhutto. While she may not have been a great democrat, or any sort of democrat. While she may well have been guilty of theft of huge sums of money from the Pakistan treasury. While she may not have done much, if anything for the people of her country. One fact remains, she did NOT deserve to die as she did. Any death diminishes us all, and hers will play out on more than just the Pakistani stage, it will play out on the world stage. The fallout from her violent death is just beginning. It is going to be one hell of a bumpy ride folks.
semper fi