Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald Ford - RIP

I feel like Im becoming an Obit writer...Friedman, Picnochet, James Brown....and now Gerald Rudolph Ford......What an amazing life. US Navy, Congressman, House Leader, Member of the Warren Commission, Vice President of the United States and finally our 38th President. The only man to achive the office without ever running for it (He became VP when Spiro T Agnew resigned in 1973).

93 years of public service to this great country. A wife, Betty Ford, who made a huge difference in the treatment of addictions. A man who helped heal the United States during one of its darkest hours of crisis in the aftermath of the Nixon resignation. His name will forever be synonymous with forgiveness. After pardoning Nixon for Watergate he also helped heal that other dark stain on Americas psyche, the Vietnam War, by the signing of the Paris Accord in 1975. Courage, forgiveness and decency. Something we really do not see in Washington today. God rest his soul.

Some President Ford trivia from Dr Reason's archive of useless information.....just for you Kennedy assasination conspiracy theorists:

As a member of the Warren Commission he altered the text of the Report slightly to indicate that the first bullet that struck the President entered through the neck and not through the back. By moving the entry point 2 or 3 inches higher he was able to discredit the "magic bullet theory" which stated that if the bullet entered through the back it could not also have struck Governor Connolly (as the Commission also claimed) unless it made a "magic" 90 degree turn in mid air.By moving the entry point to the neck the bullet did not have to make the magic 90 degree turn.

Fords act has greatly contributed to the speculation of a government coverup and that Lee Harvey was framed. Many years later Ford would admit that he did this only to make the text of the Warren Report clearer and not to rewrite history or push a particluar viewpoint.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Godfather of Soul gives his last Performance

An American icon is dead. The king of funk, the godfather of soul and the hardest working man in show business has moved on to the other side. He died of pneumonia at 2 am on christmas morning. Irreplaceable. There can never be another James Brown.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

An open letter to a Neo Con (Assuming there are any left in the US)

My Dear Neo Con friend,

As we come to the end of the sixth year of the reign of King George the Usurper, I am emboldened and encouraged by the fact that the country is finally waking up to the machinations of this deceiver and his coterie of cunning counselors. The Houston Houdini seems to be fast running out of tricks.

This Administration which has used fear and division to greatly expand the power of the executive branch since September 11, 2001 seems to finally be getting some payback. Rove, aka Bush’s brain, parlayed the United States worst terrorist attack into a tawdry political strategy based on scaring the pants of the American people to ensure that his party stayed in power. This strategy worked in 2002 and in 2004 but even he couldn’t turn it into a hat trick in 2006 where he finally got his comeuppance.

I need to ask you my dear neo-con friend to tell me what your thoughts are now on the conservative revolution. Is it dead or merely sleeping? Has Robespierre been guillotined or is this a temporary blip on the way to making the US even redder than it currently is? In particular I want you to tell me what you think of the much vaunted Iraq strategy that you were pushing as the panacea to all the problems in the Middle East. It is in tatters. Moqtada al- Sadr has an even chance of becoming the next President of a free Iraq. There are no Jefferson's of even the “movin on up” variety on the Baghdad landscape.

Is it still too early to judge or has the time come to call this adventure for what it is....a total debacle; dreamed up by ideologues and directed by a not so intelligent commander-in-chief? Was this an appropriate expenditure of nearly a trillion dollars and three thousand American lives and God knows how many Iraqi lives? Does the road to Jerusalem lead through Baghdad? Or does the road to Jerusalem lead thru Jerusalem and Gaza and Ramallah and Washington DC and London and Cairo and Riyadh??

Some true believers are frequently heard saying that we can’t judge Bush's "grand" strategy in terms of "CNN Time" - is this still true? Do we have to wait till say 2050 or so to pass judgment on this?? This war is now longer than America’s involvement in WW II - so is that not long enough for the greatest army in the history of the world to say secure Baghdad?

Isn’t it ironic that Bush had to meet Prime Minister Maliki in Amman because even after 3000 Americans lives and one trillion dollars capital of Iraq is not yet secure? If Clinton (or God forbid Gore) presided over such a screw up wouldn’t the GOP faithful and Rush Limbaugh be screaming to have him drawn, quartered and fed to hyenas? Probably so.

Also now that we have a full scale civil war, is the much quoted flypaper theory still valid? Most of the people fighting America in Iraq are native Iraqis who are not Al Qaeda jihadis. More nationalist I would think. Another neo con theory discredited.

The Taliban are pretty much back in full force in Afghanistan and Osama is still alive therefore was it a good idea to redirect resources to Iraq before Afghanistan was stable?

We are now considering talking to Iran, Syria and NK (this was the Clinton approach that the neo cons led by Cheney pretty much spat on)

So just like Hezbollah showed the limitations of Israeli power has Iraq shown the limits of US Power.....Is George Bush really the best thing that has ever happened to the Mullahs in Teheran?? I would say yes. I guess us timid Liberals who wet our pants and don’t know anything about dealing with terror turned out to be right on this one.

In general the big lesson learned is don’t go off on foreign military adventures with untested military theories based on LIES and try to force democracy at the barrel of a gun on people who have been warring with each other since Moses Bar Mitzvah.

You don’t need to go to Harvard or read the WSJ to know it.... Its really hard to not gloat BUT every single theory for the war in Iraq (which you so vehemently defended and in some cases with a massive dose of unnecessary vitriol) has been disproven and discredited 3 years in:

So let u summarize how wrong you and your other Neo Con friends have been:

WMD - Wrong
Flypaper theory - Wrong
Road to Jerusalem leads through Baghdad - Wrong
War will pay for itself with oil revenue - Wrong
US greeted as liberators -Wrong
Saddam nexus with Al Qaeda - Wrong
Iraq the shining light for the rest of the ME - Wrong
Rumsfeld doctrine vs. Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force - Wrong
Assuming that Arabs had the same idea of American democracy and liberty - Wrong

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Augusto Pinochet - el Diablo

Augusto Pinochet, Chilean dictator and the Reagan Administration's second favorite dictator after Saddam Hussein died today at the age of 91. There really is nothing else to say. The man was a son of a bitch and we tolerated him because he was our son of a bitch.

He is dead and an ignominious chapter in both US and Chilean history comes to an end. It is a chapter full of deceit, hypocrisy and murder. America and specifically the CIA's hands are bloody in this.

One does not want to judge the actors in this tragedy too harshly because the geopolitics of the world in 1973 was very different. The Soviet Union was a real and credible threat. The US viewed any incursion of socialism into its sphere of influence as a direct attack and since Chile was in the US's backyard it was therefore off limits to socialism.

To thwart the spread of the Soviet influence the CIA engineered a coup against Salvador Allende the democratically elected left leaning President. It was ordered by Nixon’s National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. In addition, the Chilean Army chief Rene Schneider was kidnapped and shot by people friendly to the US (and perhaps even acting on their orders)

This is one of the reasons why a Paris court much, much later issued an arrest warrant for Kissinger. Kissinger evaded arrest because the US embassy received a tip and he was able to leave Paris with the gendarmie hot on his trail.

Ironically Pinochet was himself put under house arrest in London based on a warrant issued by a Spanish court. Dame Thatcher and other Reagan acolytes famously came to his defence calling him one of the best friends the west had during the long fight with the evil empire. In the end furious lobbying by the Chilean govt and western allies friendly to Pinochet suceeded in getting him released and sent back home where he lived out his last years protected and safe from his many enemies.