Our Mad Mad World: Up Against the Wall!    
 Up Against the Wall!18 comments
picture11 Nov 2006 @ 23:59, by Paul Quintanilla


The right has been quite successful villifying common garden variety liberals, to the extent that rare is the politician who dares speak that name. Now they are bringing up the bugaboo of Congressional hearings. They say we must "move ahead," and forget the past for the good of the country.

Are they suggesting an amnesty for political corruption? The line of the "unthinkable" they draw has been forced back by Tuesday's election. And the "unthinkable" may include oversight hearings while simultaneously moving ahead with the nation's business. Why can't the government do both?

No Democrat, not even John Conyers, has to stand up on the bank of committee desks, beat his chest, and shout: "We're going to get them now!" All they need do is calmly and quietly begin taking testimony, gathering the evidence, asking questions, allowing the investigations to proceed on their own. If they prove no wrong doing, then fine. So be it. That should clear the air and make the right happy. But if the opposite proves true, then shouldn't the perps take the consequences?

No one rationalizes not prosecuting a bank robber because his crime was in the past, and we have to "move ahead."

So without fanfare, hysterics, or hype, let the oversight hearings begin. And let them lead where they may. For the good of the nation.


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18 comments

12 Nov 2006 @ 02:19 by b : Qunity, Happy Veterans Day
I do hope that your suggestions of an open investigation immediately provide for due process of law. That there will be a convening authority of the investigation, that it is authorized and that a court decides on the validity of proof and evidence. Generalities and non specifics don't count as proof or evidence. The results of an investigation should bare justice not a witch hunt.  


12 Nov 2006 @ 10:35 by jazzolog : Playing By b's Rules
I've been away from computers and out-of-town the past few days, so maybe by this time you've seen Garrison's column from last week already~~~

Chicago Tribune
A hint of possibility in the air
Garrison Keillor
November 8, 2006

So now we have thrown some rascals out and left some rascals in power and sent some new folks to Washington to learn the art of rascality, and what in the end, after all the hoopla, will really change? Or will the town drunk continue to run the municipal liquor store?

Perhaps there will be some rational debate on the war. The voters have said they don't want the 30 Years War that Vice President Dick Cheney envisions, so it's time for him and his friend to start making other arrangements. This happens all the time in the real world. If you can't accomplish the mission, then you accept it and find a graceful way out.

The health insurance crisis may be addressed, and the crippled behemoth that is Homeland Security. And surely Congress will rediscover the use of the subpoena and require public servants to account for themselves under oath. This would be a novelty. After six years of ingenious spin, we could get a history lesson while we're still young enough to profit from it.

People still care deeply about our government, despite every invitation to disillusionment. This is the astonishment. For my generation, the first big blow was the failure of Washington to get to the truth about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and then its inability to change a disastrous course in Vietnam. You stand at the majestic polished wall with the 57,000 names on it, and you look across the river to Arlington, and here, within one mile, are two enormous aching sorrows, and a mile behind you is the U.S. Supreme Court, which threw the election of 2000. Some people killed our president and got away with it; men were shipped off to die in a lousy war promulgated by Democrats afraid to be called weak on communism; and an election was stolen, no protest. And yet we still stroll down to the church and cast our ballots. We live on hope.

Forty years ago I drove to Baltimore for a friend's wedding and then, on a powerful urge, veered off toward Washington. It was night. I drove through a confusing grid of diagonals and circles, saw the great dome illuminated, drove up to it and parked and walked in. You could do that then. A few cops stood around, and you strolled past them and into the rotunda, and stood dazed and humbled in this space where great men had moved. The tragedy of secession was played out in these halls, and the New Deal was launched, and FDR was carried up here after Pearl Harbor to declare World War II, after which wise men designed the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe and the GI Bill of Rights that built an American middle class.

It has been a long time since we had reason to be proud of these people, though they are essentially the same people as those who accomplished great things. So what's wrong?

One problem with Congress is that 90 percent of it is ceremonial and so little has to do with elucidation. The Honorable meets with representatives of the American Beer Can Association, the Swizzle Stick Foundation, the League of Tutu Manufacturers, and poses for photos and listens to their pitches, and then goes to the floor and proclaims Eugene P. Fenstermaker Day, and then to a subcommittee hearing to read a two-page statement praising the arts as a triumphant manifestation of the human spirit, and then back to the office to welcome 10 fat men in beanies and the 4-Hers from Hooperville, then off to the banquet of the American Ferret Federation, and seldom during the day is the Honorable ever challenged or questioned or asked to listen to anything that wasn't vetted and paid for. The Great Personage is either regarded with servile deference or heartily abused by bloggers. This is not a good life for an inquiring mind.

You meet congressmen in private and they're perfectly thoughtful and well-spoken people, nothing like the raging idiots they impersonate in campaign ads, and you think, maybe Congress needs more privacy. Send them off on unchaperoned trips to see the world firsthand. More closed-door caucuses where they can say what they think without worrying that one stray phrase may kill them.

Or maybe Congress simply needed more Democrats. We are a civil bunch, owing to our contentious upbringings. With a smart, well-spoken woman for speaker instead of that lumbering, mumbling galoot who covered for the Current Occupant, perhaps life will get more interesting. Maybe they'll do something good. It's possible.
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12 Nov 2006 @ 15:46 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : That strikes me as an unduly
touchy response, -b-. But why shouldn't there be due process? Why will hearings become "witch hunts?" There's actually no need.

Nor, for that matter, having watched events in Washington - even at a great distance - for several years, is there any lack of corruption for all the eager hound dogs to unearth.

Speaking of reform, it would be nice if our news media started covering what goes on in the Congress. They ignore it even though there is no shortage of drama there. Do we have to get news of the House and Senate floors from Masterpiece Theater? Thank god for CSPAN.

Money and politics don't mix. Anyone running for high office should give up all worldly goods, move into a simple dormitory where he and she will live either like a monk or nun, and forget all future material benefits. But let's start off more modestly with publicly financed elections.  



12 Nov 2006 @ 17:02 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : "Payback is unworthy..."

Some far right Republicans have been known to indulge in "payback" for their political "enemies." Tom Delay, "the hammer," is a good example. So is the White House.

Joseph Wilson, who bucked the "either you're with or against us" mentality in the White House, was a recipient of "payback." And of course Nixon was famous for his "enemies list."

Vindictiveness in the current White House has been reported by others, too, including Paul O'Neil, Richard Clark, and Larry Wilkerson: all former members of the "team." So when some Republicans complain of "payback," could there be an element of projection here? Are they accusing others of how they would behave themselves? We've seen much of that too in recent years.

Here's an AP piece on the upcoming hearings. (Is there any rational argument opposing congressional oversight? Oversight we have lacked for years? In one committee oversight was eliminated as soon as the Republicans took over in '94.)

Waxman Set to Probe Areas of Bush Administration
By Erica Werner
The Associated Press

Friday 10 November 2006

The Democratic congressman who will investigate the Bush administration's running of the government says there are so many areas of possible wrongdoing, his biggest problem will be deciding which ones to pursue.

There's the response to Hurricane Katrina, government contracting in Iraq and on homeland security, political interference in regulatory decisions by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, and allegations of war profiteering, Rep. Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., told the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

"I'm going to have an interesting time because the Government Reform Committee has jurisdiction over everything," Waxman said Friday, three days after his party's capture of Congress put him in line to chair the panel. "The most difficult thing will be to pick and choose."

Waxman, who's in his 16th term representing West Los Angeles, had plenty of experience leading congressional investigations before the Democrats lost control of the House to Republicans in 1994.

That was the year when, as chairman of an Energy and Commerce subcommittee, he presided over dramatic hearings he convened where the heads of leading tobacco companies testified that they didn't believe nicotine was addictive.

The scene made it into the movie "The Insider," but Waxman noted Friday that no subpoenas were issued to produce that testimony.

Republicans have speculated that a Democratic congressional majority will mean a flurry of subpoenas and investigations into everything under the sun as retaliation against the GOP and President Bush.

Not so, Waxman said.

"A lot of people have said to me, `Are you going to now go out and issue a lot of subpoenas and go on a wild payback time?' Well, payback is unworthy," he said. "Doing oversight doesn't mean issuing subpoenas. It means trying to get information."

Subpoenas would be used only as a last result, Waxman said, taking a jab at a previous committee chairman, GOP Rep. Dan Burton (news, bio, voting record) of Indiana, who led the committee during part of the Clinton administration.

"He issued a subpoena like most people write a letter," Waxman said.

Waxman complained that Republicans, while in power, shut Democrats out of decision-making and abdicated oversight responsibilities, focusing only on maintaining their own power.

In contrast to the many investigations the GOP launched of the Clinton administration, "when Bush came into power there wasn't a scandal too big for them to ignore," Waxman said.

Among the issues that should have been investigated but weren't, Waxman contended, were the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, the controversy over the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name, and the pre-Iraq war use of intelligence.

He said Congress must restore accountability and function as an independent branch of government. "It's our obligation not to be repeating with the Republicans have done," Waxman said.  



14 Nov 2006 @ 10:43 by jazzolog : Exquisite Toles

 



14 Nov 2006 @ 18:48 by celestial : Thank God
They're not hanging on a cross!  


15 Nov 2006 @ 00:06 by quinty : Shaking hands, once again..

Odd the coincidence, isn't it. I suppose most of us here are familiar with Rumsfeld's famous handshake with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad back in 1983, when he, Saddam, was using chemical weapons (WMD) on the Iranians? Of course, at that time Saddam was our friend.

Let this be a lesson to all woodbe puppets, tin pot dictators, and bullying Washington stooges. Like Noriega and Saddam Hussein your time may come!  



15 Nov 2006 @ 00:26 by quinty @72.195.137.102 : But, uh, duh
that was the point of the cartoon, wasn't it?  


27 Nov 2006 @ 20:08 by vaxen : Amnesty...
for Criminals? Yes, that's exactly what is happening. Oh they're a smart bunch alright. But don't forget the real target in all this mumbo jumbo of who is liberal and who is not. They are all traitors to this nation as are the peoples living within its' ficticious borders. "Driven," helter skelter, down the pathway to destruction.

To involve yourself with the chicanery of anything Washington ''says'' is to vibrate with that lie... and that is certain death. Rise above it all, find out who YOU really are, the rest of what you have to do will then become very ''clear.''

Poppin ya up to the top, Paul, as you've been down here for far too long a time! ;)  



20 Dec 2006 @ 00:11 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Bad attitudes
Now that the Democrats are about to take over we hear many a righwinger complain that the Demos age going to play "payback." And that the proposed upcoming Congressional hearings are only a winner's means of going after the losers. That this will be a most sordid affair.

Is this a simple case of projection? After all, look at the hullabaloo which was once created by a blowjob? They, many Republicans, tell us it was not the blowjob itself which caused the impeachment and trial, but that the president LIED about it. UNDER OATH. That this was the true collapse from grace which necessitated a stern Congressional reaction.

Please, please don't tell us that? We know it was payback time for the Iran Contra hearings, Watergate, and President Nixon's disgrace and humiliation. Nor did the impeachment and trial of President Clinton do much good in buttressing the moral standards of Washington. Look at who thought they could walk away with the store in their pockets undetected? Finally, reality caught up with them. Reality tends to catch up with anyone who becomes too giddy with that kind of success.

So now we are being told that if the newly powerful Democrats in Congress hold oversight hearings they will threaten bipartisanship, collegiality, bringing the country down into the muck and mire when, rather than look behind, they should look ahead. For the greater good of the nation. That it’s time to unite and heal the wounds. After all, they say, that’s what the people want: bipartisanship.

So what is the lesson there? I can hear the same argument in the trial, let's say, of a notorious bank robber. Whose defense is that his misconduct all took place in the past: and that his trial is extremely expensive and draws attention away from more important issues. And that for the sake of the greater community the prosecution should look ahead toward the future instead of at the past.

Are the Republicans asking for an amnesty for political corruption? For waste, mismanagement, and the loss of billions? Not to mention the lives?

Perhaps some of us have been too considerate, too polite, too well mannered to suggest this, but isn't it possible that these same Republicans are arguing against hearings because they don't want to be caught with their hands in the public till? That they are merely attempting to squirm out from under their future disgrace? And all its consequences?

If I ever get into trouble with the law I hope their arguments will work for me. Though I'm afraid I doubt they will. Telling the judge that I wish to “work together” in the future may simply not impress him. I wonder why?

For the retrograde judge may still believe in accountability and bringing the facts into the light. Yes, for the overall public good. As a necessary step to cleanse all the waste and corruption. To prove, if nothing else, that government corruption will not be ignored or condoned by widespread silence. That it has to stop.

Here’s a nice piece which appeared today in Common Dreams.


The Rascals are Still In Charge
by Paul Campos

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the English admiral John Byng was sent to relieve Fort St. Philip on the island of Minorca. Commanding an undermanned fleet, Byng was unable to repulse the French warships besieging the island, and the fort was forced to surrender.

When he returned to England, Byng was court-martialed, and convicted for having failed "to do his utmost" to secure victory. He was executed by firing squad on the deck of the HMS Monarch, in Portsmouth Harbor. This incident inspired the French writer Voltaire's famously sardonic comment that in England "it is considered a good thing to kill an admiral from time to time, pour encourager les autres [to encourage the others]."

Voltaire's epigram crossed my mind when I heard neo-conservative military strategist Frederick Kagan holding forth on National Public Radio, regarding his plan to send a "surge" of new combat troops to Iraq. The word in Washington is that Kagan's plan is much to President Bush's liking, and that the president is inclined to put it into action next month.

Voltaire noted that in 18th century England mistakes made in the heat of battle could result in the most savage punishment. In America today, we are beset by the opposite problem: an incompetence so grotesque that it is as a practical matter difficult to distinguish from treason and in fact only increases the power and prestige of those who are guilty of it.

And while I wouldn't go so far as to recommend the occasional execution of a neo-conservative strategist, it's worth noting that the chief architects of the Iraq war have suffered no punishment whatsoever for plunging the nation into the biggest foreign policy disaster in our history.

Indeed, far from being subjected to any adverse consequences for sending America on a military adventure that has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, while accomplishing the remarkable feat of leaving the Iraqi people even worse off than they were under Saddam Hussein, people like Kagan still control our Iraq strategy.

This is an odd state of affairs. It could be compared to empowering the former management of Enron to balance the federal budget, or hiring O.J. Simpson as a marriage counselor. Yet, when it comes to Iraq, nothing succeeds like failure. (The honors showered on the likes of Paul Bremer, Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld would have been considered completely unbelievable if these people had been characters in a satirical novel.)

Last month, Republicans suffered a crushing defeat in the midterm elections, largely because of public disgust with the war. Last week, polls revealed that more than seven of 10 Americans disapprove of President Bush's current war strategy, and that only 12 percent of the nation wants to toss more troops into the maw of this ever-expanding fiasco.

To say that something that's supported by 12 percent of the public is a fringe position is an understatement (you could probably get 12 percent of the public to favor an invasion of Jupiter).

None of this seems to make any difference. It doesn't even make any difference that many of the president's own generals are against sending more American troops to Iraq, and would openly oppose any such move if doing so wasn't the equivalent of career suicide.

Of all the tragic aspects of this national disaster this is worst: The people who have been catastrophically wrong about everything are still in charge. And a year from now, when things are even worse in Iraq, we can be sure the neo-conservatives will still be demanding that yet more American soldiers die so that Kagan and his ilk can continue to live out their increasingly destructive geopolitical fantasies.

A few of these people need to begin to pay some price for the damage they're doing - if only "to encourage the others" to stop.

Paul Campos is a professor of law at the University of Colorado. Reach him at paul.campos@colorado.edu.

Copyright © 2006 Rocky Mountain News  



9 Jan 2007 @ 20:49 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : On rightwing talk
radio who is to blame for "losing" iraq? And why has this war gone wrong?

Oh, guess. It can't be that hard to do. Of course! The critics of the war. They're the ones to blame.

And why?

Because each time a critic opened his or her mouth a soldier's gun fell apart in Iraq. Each time a critic spoke up a tank became stuck in the desert sands. Everytime a critic opined an attack helicopter couldn't rise from its pad.

That's a lot of power, isn't it? All that Bush bashing back home interfering with the progress of the war. Making the most powerful military force in the history of the world incapable of winning a little war with a virtually unarmed people. And each time a Bush basher bashed a tank's barrel wilted and sagged. Such was their power.

So those of us who spoke against this folly are now responsible for its failure. If only we had "backed the troops" with our yellow ribbons and little decals and patriotic flag waving those barrels would have remained hard, each marksman's aim would have been straight, and each attack helicopter could have blown a thousand insurgents to hell with each sure shot. (I know, I know, this is becoming phallic. The comparison with guns has been made before.)

And now the Neocons who favor a "surge" tell us to be at all effective it has to last at least a year and a half.

A year and a half.

A lot of killing can be done over a year and a half. Not only of Americans but of Iraqis. Somehow this is supposed to bring stability to Iraq. But there is one advantage the "insurgents" have which we lack. They live there. They can wait. Just as Ho Chi Minh and his fellow "insurgents" did. Why does that simple fact always seem to come as a surprise to so many of us? That the insurgents can wait us out? That they can always chose the place and time of their attacks.

Our president should apologize to the world, for lying, for creating this fiasco, for not being wise or at all honest. Then he should call a regional conference to attempt to establish some sort of stability in Iraq as the US forces leave. We won't like what they decide but all we should worry about is the price of a barrel of crude. So long as they have that we will buy it (until we can fully develop alternatives.) And then we, the US, should leave.

A year and a half according to Frederick Kagan. A top Neocon guru. I hope I'm wrong. We'll see what the president says tomorrow. Will he follow Kagan's advice?  



10 Jan 2007 @ 10:38 by jazzolog : The War Is Being Won
If you were a good capitalist Paul, you'd be looking at the balance sheets and ignore talking heads. The profits continue to roar in for those select corporations doing business in Iraq. And now Bush will engage the taxpayers to send in 20,000 more troops to protect the White House oilmen as they secure their private reserves and markets there. Meanwhile the corporations pay no taxes, and their CEOs contribute enough each year to evangelical churches so they don't pay taxes either---and the taxfree churches contribute to the Republican Party. How much more victory could anyone want?  


10 Jan 2007 @ 17:03 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Let the investigations begin!

No, not for "payback." Or to play "gotchya!" But to fully bring out what has been happening and to expose it. Though we know the president will stonewall and claim "executive privilege."

Isn't it odd that those who stand most to lose are those who, in a thoroughly respectable manner, are searching for persuasive reasons not to have hearings? As if this would be for the good of the country?

In the recent news we see that the Iraqi government may sell off the oilfields to private interests. Paul Bremer wanted to privatize everything too - a scandal which should be fully explored. (Naomi Klein wrote a wonderful piece on all this for Harpers or the Atlantic some time ago.)

Why should a young man or woman eager for war join the armed forces? Men and women in the army get paid very little. If that eager young person desiring to be all he can be joins one of the private "security firms" over there in Iraq he or she can make a bundle. And many of the routine duties once performed by enlisted men (peeling potatoes) are now performed by contractors.

There is no doubt a great deal of graft and war profiteering has taken place. After all, they have their men in the White House.

Let the hearings begin!  



10 Jan 2007 @ 23:40 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Neocons in the saddle?

It is less than two and a half hours before the Big Speech.

And here is Ira Chernus giving us a handle on what may be going on.....

[link]

Published on Wednesday, January 10, 2007 by CommonDreams.org

Why Bush Fights: It's the Morality Stupid
by Ira Chernus

Question: What do Mark Twain and the neoconservatives have in common? Answer: The reports of their deaths are greatly exaggerated. We’ve been hearing reports of the demise of neocon influence for over half a year now. Yet every time a major decision has to be made in the White House, the neocon view seems to prevail.

They are certainly still in charge of Iraq policy. Despite overwhelming opposition from the pundits and the people, they’ve persuaded Bush to embrace their troop “surge” plan. It seems downright crazy -- until you see it through the squinty corkscrew eyes of the neocons. Then it takes on a perverse logic all its own.

It’s not the logic of blood for oil. When the big oil companies want to make U.S. foreign policy serve their interests, the man they turn to is James Baker. If more troops were likely to help big oil, Baker would have put the “surge” into his plan.

But Baker and the oil moguls know that as long as U.S. forces are in Iraq, the country will be in such chaos that most of the oil will never reach the corporate refineries. It’s a safe bet that Baker recommended withdrawing U.S. troops because (among other reasons) he figures it’s the quickest way to get the oil flowing, and his friends in the oil companies can still get their hefty cuts without masses of U.S. troops on the ground. It’s a safe bet that most of the pundits agree.

The neocons who are running the show overruled Baker and the pundits because they follow a very different logic. As Michael Lind, a former editor of a neocon journal, once explained, their policies do “not reflect business interests in any direct way. … Explanations involving big oil or American capitalism are mistaken.” If neocon policies help the oil companies get richer, that’s a welcome bonus. But it’s not the heart of the story.

In the last few days, Bush aides have been out baring their heart to the White House press corps. According to the Washington Post, they’re saying that Bush “has few other dramatic options available to signal U.S. determination in Iraq.” The New York Times has them explaining that the troop surge will “illustrate Washington’s increased resolve to deter adventurism by regional adversaries.”

At a press conference a few weeks ago, Bush warned: “They can't run us out of the Middle East. They can't intimidate America. … They think it's just a matter of time before America grows weary and leaves. … That's not going to happen.” He suggested that he’s guided by the wisdom of his “buddies” in Texas who “are saying, 'Are you doing enough?' … They want to know, this mighty country … are we doing what it takes to win?"

That’s the heart of the neocon story: America has to prove that we are a mighty country. We have to show enough resolve to intimidate every enemy, without ever being weak or intimidated ourselves. We have to be strong enough and determined enough to win every time.

"I'm interested in one thing: I'm interested in winning," Bush said in a recent interview. "If we can't win, I'll pull us out.” Then he explained what “winning” means to him: “The only defeat is leaving, is letting things fall into chaos and letting al Qaeda have a safe haven.” Of course the longer U.S. troops stay, the deeper Iraq falls into chaos and the stronger al Qaeda becomes. So here’s what Bush really meant (translated by Washingtonpost.com’s chief Bush-watcher, Dan Froomkin): “Even if things are getting worse, rather than better -- simply staying is winning. … The only way to lose is to leave.” “I view this as a struggle of good versus evil,” Bush added. So staying is good; leaving is evil. Period.

That may sound like nonsense to most of us. But it makes good sense to the neocons, because their main goal is not victory in the conventional sense. Their main goal is to prove that America has manly character: we aren’t “cut and run” quitters; we don’t get weary, weak, or intimidated; we have the guts and moral fiber to stand up to every enemy, no matter how tough; we are real men who will endure any pain and make any sacrifice, as long as we are good guys fighting against evildoers.

For a neocon, determination, resolve, and sacrifice are not just useful tactics (as they are for the James Bakers of the world). They are moral qualities that prove we have the essential virtue: strength and fortitude. As long as we are standing tough and making sacrifices, we are proving our manly character. So we are defeating the real enemy: our own moral weakness. But to prove that kind of strength, we have to be out there fighting. That’s why it’s the act of making war, not the outcome, that counts most.

The neocons are set on making the whole country follow their example. According to the BBC, the “central theme” of Bush’s big speech “will be sacrifice.” (Bush has already warned that 2007 will “require additional sacrifices.”) “Americans need to commit to greater national sacrifice,” one White House spinmeister told the press. Another framed it as simplistically as Bush will frame it: “A choice between withdrawal and surge. … The public is more likely to support the president’s position, which is putting a stake in the ground in Iraq and saying were going to try to win.”

The sad truth is that the public just might support the president. Most Americans hate to be losers. But they may hate even more to be weak-willed quitters. “The public is not for immediate withdrawal or even a quick withdrawal, but they’re not for the status quo,” one of the spinmeisters explained. So they may very well fall for the “surge” as the best change available.

There’s the challenge for those of us who see the Iraq war as a symptom of a much deeper disease. We want to educate people about what’s really going on, not only in Iraq but here in the good old U. S. of A. We’d like to make the war a window into the inner workings of the American system. We’d have an easier task if James Baker and his friends were still making policy. Then we might impact public opinion by making a convincing case about wars fought for corporate profit. Most Americans won’t shed blood for oil.

But too many will shed blood for an old-fashioned morality that equates virtue with deadly displays of brute macho strength. That’s the essence of The Decider’s message as he stumps for his “surge” plan. And he seems so sure of his righteousness, he may actually get away with it -- unless we can argue convincingly that the truly moral path leads us out of Iraq, now.

There is more at stake here than a prolonged tragedy in Iraq. If the neocons win this one, they’ll be emboldened to make the same case about resolve and sacrifice and virtue when it comes to their long-dreamed-of war against Iran. And that could make Iraq look like a minor bump in the road to catastrophe.

All the “No Blood for Oil” bumper stickers in the world won’t help as long as the neocons are still making policy. If we want to avert disaster, we should take the neocons at their word, confront their perverse moral code head on, and argue for a very different kind of morality -- one that doesn’t require morgues full of corpses to make us feel virtuous. The economics of war is always important. But right now it’s the morality that we most urgently need to debate.

Ira Chernus is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and author of American Nonviolence: The History of an Idea and Monsters To Destroy: The Neoconservative War on Terror and Sin.

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11 Jan 2007 @ 01:25 by triggs : Another hog lose in the garden
I think when the congressional investigations begin we will see impeachment back on the table. But right now its 2008 that the dems are looking at.
But this is a Bush we are talking about so Im sure he will escape prosecution.

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."- Bertrand de Juvenal

Replace the words "our Lord Jesus Christ" with the words "our country" or "our world" or "the American idiots" in the following scripture.


"For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." -Romans 16:18  



2 Feb 2007 @ 15:14 by vaxen : So...
Be ye not simple!  


2 Feb 2007 @ 18:46 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Thank you Vax
for this admonition.

Now, how do we avoid being "simple?"

Do we sit for one or two hours in a museum staring at an enormous abstract work of art? Do we immerse ourselves in said absorbing all the subtle nuances of color, space, design, lack of design, blotches, hollow spots, curlicues, rhythmic lines, lack of rhythm, the air touching the canvas, its weight, density, changing inner moods, the passing spells of fellow museum-goers standing momentarily before our eyes? But without, of course, ever emerging out of our trance.

Do we go out and buy a New York Times, read it in the toilet, and then shred the pages with the most ads to improvise a Molotov Cocktail which we will hurl at the first Capitalist car speeding by? Preferably on Fifth Avenue in New York. And during the day.

Do we cram and memorize a dictionary overnight, as if we were to take an exam? Do we walk throughout the ensuing day spouting words at random at passing strangers? Do we pour words like a torrential shower? Do we become discomposed by the unusual reactions of the passing strangers? Did the dictionary have enough words to fill our supply?

Or do we stand in a corner, our back to the world, coldly rebuffing it? Allowing one and all to know that they are not worth our consideration or attention? That the corner of two converging walls has a higher interest for us? For here is the key to all truth. If only it would release it.  



25 Feb 2007 @ 00:00 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Vax -
come over to my site. Let's not pollute Richard's.

You still don't get it, do you?

First, if you are going to condescendingly put my comments down you could at least start out by understanding them. I believe that is the first rule of criticism. You have to understand that which you mock and sneer at.

Second, complacency is akin to being smug. Self righteous. Superior and condescending. Fine and well. But let's go back to that first rule. You should understand that which you condescendingly sneer at. For complacency could make you appear most preposterous. Perhaps not at first, but eventually. When that “absurd” idea becomes commonplace and widely accepted. I believe those of us who first opposed the war in Iraq are enjoying that status now. Though (and I’m not referring to you) the far right sees the earlier protesters in the same way our House Un-American Activities Committee saw those American volunteers who went to Spain, to fight for freedom there, as “premature anti fascists.” (I hope I’m not confusing you here now.)

On the question of style, I thought your comparison to the Tin Man was rather forced. As if you were groping, and hoping for effect. That you were merely searching for a pointed remark. But perhaps I was wrong?

I just thought I would throw this out, Vax.

Your turn now....  



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