Friday, December 29, 2006

LTE: December 29, 2006

Regardless of his motives, whether to heal the nation’s “wounds” in the wake of the Watergate scandal, a simple act of compassionate or acting on a suggestion by White House Chief of Staff General Alexander Haig, Gerald R. Ford’s pardon of Richard M. Nixon had far reaching and unintended consequences.

The sight of a former president having his day in court would have sent the clear signal to the American people that our Constitutional system of justice works. Instead, by issuing a pardon before any indictments were ever handed down in any jurisdiction for Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal, Ford short-circuited our constitutional system, and effectively placed Nixon above the law.

Rather than binding wounds, the pardon sent the cynical message that there is, indeed, two systems of justice: One for the politically powerful and well connected and another for the rest of the American people.

This was a lesson not lost on Ronald Reagan, with his alleged non-involvement in the so-called Iran-Contra scandal. Moreover the opera buffa of Bill Clinton, presided over by the late Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the late William Rehnquist in a robe inspired by a character out of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta The Mikado, made the threat of presidential impeachment laughable.

Now we find ourselves with no powerful Constitutional remedy for a willful president who has led this nation into a ruinous and senseless occupation of a country that could really never do us any harm.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Perpare for Gerald Ford shit storm

O.K., so 93-year-old Gerald R. Ford dies in his sleep last night.

From the way the media is carrying on, you'd get the idea he was our greatest president and not just a footnote of history.

For the next month or so we're going to be deluged with the weepy-weepies about what a great guy he was. And maybe that is so.

But, Jesus christ, I wish these fucking media people would take a clue from the Amish when it come to dead. It's just a part of life. We bury, or whatever we do to the corpse, say a few appropriate words, for the living the recently deceased is past caring, and life goes on.

The worst part of all this national moaning is that poor Gerry's body is put on ice while all this bullshit goes on before it's dropped into the grave. How fucking dignified!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bush:"Increase military to fight t'rr'r." So who pays?

Yes, indeed. Who will pay for pResident Bush's planned increase in the size of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps?
Charles Moskos, a military sociologist and professor emeritus at Northwestern University, said that without a draft, the burden of the war falls disproportionately on the working class. He noted that of his 1956 Princeton University class of 750 men, 450 served. In the Princeton University class of 2006 there were 1,108 men and women, but only nine have joined the military.

"They call this an all-volunteer military," Moskos said. "But in the United States we are paying people to die for us."

Moskos said the other advantage of a draft is that it is far cheaper than a volunteer military.
The answer is, Mr. and Mrs. Middle America, you will.

By the way, the above quoted paragraphs were buried in a story by reporters Julian E. Barnes and Peter Spiegel. In fact the story ends on a curiously upbeat note:"The incentives* have borne fruit. The 2006 recruiting season, which ended in October, saw the Army pull in 80,635 recruits, just over its 80,000 goal. It has stayed above targets since then.

The big bug-a-boo is how to pay for it. Since raising taxes is anathema to Republicans and DLC Democrats alike, and don't expect the companies waxing fat profits off this Mess-O-Potamia to pay their fair share of protection money. Do expect further erosion of governmental services, except for police repression law enforcement, from Medicare to child care in the near future.

*By raising incentives and bonus money, adding recruiters and continuing to increase the military advertising budget, the Army should be able to sign up an extra 10,000 people a year within the current all-volunteer system, according to many military experts. But they add that an extra 10,000 soldiers would cost at least $1.2 billion extra annually.

Friday, December 22, 2006

How to stem the tide of illegal immigration and keep the war in Iraq going

I just had this wonderful idea. I was inspired by a statement by the current Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson, who said, Thursday, that society as a whole would benefit by a return of a military draft.

Now even though I'm anti-military--I think soldiers, like preachers, are given way too much respect in this society-- I agree with Nicholson's opinion that a draft "...does bring people from all quarters of our society together in the common purpose of serving." Of course, as soon as he uttered these words Nicholson was forced to retract same. Undoubtedly Nicholson got some heat from the Republicans for even fantasizing about putting the butts of their lily white young'uns in BDUs.

But now there's a dilemma of the "surge."

Dubya, after hearing Commander Milquetoast, Harry Reid, say that a "suge" of 20,000 to 30,000 more American soldiers into Baghdad might be a good thing, has coyly been tossing around the idea of, somehow, increasing the size of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. But how to do that without either recourse to a draft or increasing pay and sign-up bonuses?

I have the solution: illegal immigrants.

Now look, according to the likes of Congressman Steve King, there is something like 11 to 12 million of these illegal critters running around the country. And even he acknowledges that our country is dependent on this hoard of undocumented, and unwashed, to kill our beeves, roof our houses and wipe our butts when we go to the nursing home. They, for the most part, would like to remain here as "legal" immigrants, but the system now in place for legal immigration is so labyrinthine and Byzantine as to make it all but impossible.

So here's what we do. Have the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, gang round up every illegal, undocumented immigrant, alien, work they possibly can; tell'em they can be "legal" if they serve a minimum of five years in the Army or Marines; and ship their asses to Iraq! Hell, they can take their families too!

Simple, no?

This is so evil, I don't know why Ollie North never thought of it.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Prepare yourself for Democratic defeat in '08

Dave Lindorff has written a very perceptive op-ed post at on how the Democratic leadership at the national level has already allowed itself to be out maneuvered by the Bush administration over troop deployment in Iraq.

Meanwhile over at Phillip Mattera and Charlie Cray have pinned A Contract With Corporate America that concludes:"For too long, the federal government has been acting as a virtual captive of big business interests. The change in control of Congress is the first opportunity in years to start shifting power back to the rest of us."

Do you think any Democratic leaders at the national level read either one of these pieces? Do you think Nancy "Impeachment is off the table" Pelosi will call for investigations into how the president lies this country into Iraq? Do you think "Commander Milquetoast" Harry Reid, after blurting out this Sunday past he'd support a "surge" in troops in Iraq, will change his mind? Do you think the DLC plutocrats will lift their snouts out of the K Street trough to reform campaign fiancing, lobbying and electronic voting?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

LTE: December 16, 2006

Des Moines Register

In the wake of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) roundup of “illegal” immigrants Tuesday December 12, 2006, The Des Moines Register reported that the starting wage at the Swift & Co’s Marshalltown facility is $11.50 per hour.

An interesting follow-up story would be to see how many unemployed and under-employed white central Iowans will apply for positions at the meat packing plant. More than likely Maid Rite will have an easier time filling staff positions at $8 per hour than will Swift & Co.

Since the advent of industrial scale meat processing in the 1870s, the packinghouse was traditionally the employer of first choice for new immigrants, Mexicans and Central Americans are only the latest. Perhaps an influx of Sudanese Muslims from Darfur will be the next?

But are “illegal” immigrants to blame for falling wages in the American workplace?

At this time in American history the nation is in a decades long rollback of union influence and workers’ rights. We hear the likes of Congressmen Tom Tancredo and Steve King denounce the waves of “illegal” immigration. Yet they, and their supporters, never call for the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 or a federal ban on replacement workers, scabs, taking the jobs of striking union workers. Nor do politicians of either party propose a Marshall Plan to strengthen the economies of southern Mexico and Central America so the citizens of those countries stay home.

Yet the question remains: will the American consumer, used to sixty years of the cheapest food in the world, really be willing to pay more at the grocery store?

If the actions of the so-called Minuteman of Arizona were any indication: The average anti-immigrant American would rather sit on a lawn chair at the border and complain about illegals than compete in the workplace head-to-head, organize or lobby for changes in current anti-worker labor laws.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sonuvabitch, Cockburn's right

If you've read any of my musings, thusfar, you know I have a love/hate relationship with Alexander Cockburn of, the son of a wealthy English peer and journalist who happened to be a socialist. Anyway, Cockburn's absolutely right in his weekend diatribe:
Here's comes Rep Silvestre Reyes of Texas, handpicked by Nancy Pelosi to head the House Intelligence Committee and he's calling for 20,000 more U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq. Reyes says they're needed to crush the Shi'a and Sunni militias. Didn't I tell to you right here, after the Nov 7 "peace moment" the polls, that the Democrats would fall into line behind Senator John McCain? The minute Jack Murtha made his run for House Majority leader the liberal establishment began to take a stand against all seditious talk of "immediate redeployment". You can scarcely open up the New York Times without tripping over a piece by Michael Gordon reporting yet another thoughtful military man--he put up General Zinni in this capacity last week--saying that the prudent short-term course would be to send more troops to Iraq.

Contrast this with the angry floor speech Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon, the potato king of Pendleton, who said straighforwardly on Thursday night that he'd had it with the president that the US should "cut and run, cut and walk or whatever ... "
Now how the fuck are 20,000 more American soldiers and Marines in Iraq gonna help anything?

As it stands now, there is only one option for getting Uncle Suckers out of Iraq: Cut-and-run. It sounds bad but the only way out is to pull the rug out from under the Maliki puppet-regime, let the Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds fight it out; redraw boundaries if necessary (the Turks are no longer significant players in the region and they've got to learn to deal with it) and come back and deal with the winners. Otherwise the only way these dunderheads of both parties in Washington, D.C. will pull their heads out of their collective ass is if a signicant majority of the U.S. Army in Iraq mutinies, as Marines are thoroughly brainwashed, a mutiny in the Corps is out of the question; or a major U.S. combat unit defeated in detail in the field, Diem Bien Phu in the desert as it were, by a suppossedly inferior enemy.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Viguerie: Bolton quitting bad for GOP

Aw, jeeze, how mellodramtic can this guy, Richard Viguerie, get. Here's his latest bullshit e-mail, designed to whip up the wing nuts and line his pockets with their cash.
(Manassas, Virginia) The following is a statement by Richard A. Viguerie, author of Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause, regarding the resignation of John Bolton as Ambassador to the United Nations:

“There are only a mere handful of conservatives in significant policy-making positions in the Bush Administration. The withdrawal of Ambassador Bolton means there is one less. This is very discouraging to conservatives. Instead of fighting for Ambassador Bolton’s confirmation, the Bush Administration has once again thrown in the towel.

“Since the election, President Bush has sent strong signals that he will move left and seek accommodation with the Democrats who will be running the House and Senate. The President is following in the footsteps of his father, George H. W. Bush, who also abandoned the conservative base of the GOP.

“In addition to surrendering on the Bolton nomination, another danger signal for conservatives was the President’s comments at his November 8 news conference that he will work with the liberals to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. Still another was Treasury Secretary Paulson’s statement that the Bush Administration had ‘no preconditions’ on Social Security reform, which is code for a willingness to accept higher payroll taxes and cuts in benefits.

“It looks like the next two years will be painful for conservatives and possibly fatal for the Republican Party. ”
So George W. Bush isn't "conservative" enough, is he? How much more "conservative" does the little asshole need to be, Mr. Viguerie? To the right of Attila the Hun?

This is the same tired, old litany of right wing, anti-govenment screeds this guy's been spewing out since the Sixties. He's not changed, despite what some in the liberal blogsphere think. He is still portraying the Republican Party as the party of the dispossessed white, middle class in a life and death struggle with the evil forces of Rooseveltian-New Deal Democrats. Such hogwash. He's the frontman for corporate feudalism and the dismantling of The Constitution.

Bush pipedream of martial law near reality

Wow. Read this:
Take, for example, the John W. Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2006, named for the longtime Armed Services Committee chairman from Virginia.

Signed by President Bush on Oct. 17, the law (PL 109-364) has a provocative provision called “Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies.”

Specifically, the new language adds “natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident” to the list of conditions permitting the President to take over local authority — particularly “if domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order.”

One of the few to complain, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., warned that the measure virtually invites the White House to declare federal martial law.

Read the entire story