jazzoLOG: The Gas Pump President    
 The Gas Pump President23 comments
picture11 Jan 2007 @ 10:42, by Richard Carlson

The mountain grows darker,
taking the scarlet
from the autumn leaves.

---Buson

Cooking, eating, sleeping, every deed of everyday life is nothing else than the Great Matter. Realize this! So we extend tender care with a worshipping heart even to such beings as beasts and birds---but not only to beasts, not only to birds, but to insects too, ok? Even to grass, to one blade of grass, even to dust, to one speck of dust. Sometimes I bow to the dust...

---Soen Nakagawa

The fundamental delusion of reality is to suppose that I am HERE and you are out there.

---Yasutani

Wow, how about those gas prices yesterday!
Maybe Bush should give a TV speech every night.

Hopefully you're showing up at a rally somewhere this evening to question the use of American troops, at taxpayer expense, to secure the private reserves, profits and markets of all these oilmen. Check the balance sheets of corporations "cleaning up" (in) Iraq:
their continuing bid free, tax-exempt megaprofits tell the real story of what Victory means to this Executive.
The Enron philosophy lives on!

Coordinating in the surge of our escalation, the Iraq Parliament is poised obediently to turn over the country's oilfields to Exxon/Mobil, Shell, BP, and Chevron at 75% initial profit (so the poor dears can "recover their investment"). They'll need those troops and a billion and a half of our dollars for "bolstering". More on this?
On the right
[link]
and on the left
[link] .


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16 Jan 2007 @ 05:53 by jazzolog : What One Soldier Can Do
The news website France24 is featuring a photo this morning showing busloads of Surge Soldiers making their way to Baghdad. http://www.france24.com/france24Public/en/archives/news/2007/January/middle-east/20070115-US-army.html Does Surge sound like an energy drink? Their arrival is sure to make an escalating splash with our outsourced companies over there as CEOs privately rebuild Iraq and secure the oilfields...with the help of proposed legislation in its Parliament to put those resources into the hands of American investors. http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2007/01/dollars_not_jus.html Yesterday Paul Krugman titled his column The Texas Strategy and reminded readers about the bill handed to taxpayers as the result of the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s, comparing it to what we face with Iraq. http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011507F.shtml When will we ever learn?

For those of us raised in the 1940s-50s era of oldtime wars, we may tend to think of a soldier as a guy with a rifle slung over his back, slogging along war-torn terrain, or dug in a foxhole somewhere praying for that air attack. An article last April in Rolling Stone by freelancer Jeff Tietz gave us a day-by-day account of recruit training these days and informed me just how little I know about the capabilities of today's infantry person. I don't find the piece, entitled The Killing Factory, archived anywhere online, but I recommend looking to a library for the April 20th issue. Here's a chilling paragraph from page 58 on just what a single soldier can do this morning~~~

"Before you get to the (firing) range, you will also have spent a lot of time studying the ninety-six-page weapons section of your Initial Entry Training Soldier's Handbook. Advances in weapons technology always make killing easier on the psyche, and as an infantryman you will have access to eleven different weapons systems. The weapons are very clever and destructive almost beyond comprehension. The warhead of the AT-4, a shoulder-fired anti-tank rocket, can pierce a wall of steel more than a foot thick. The AT-4 can do this from A MILE AWAY. With the lightweight grenade launcher you put on your M-16, you can shoot seven grenades, each explosive enough to destroy a car from two blocks away, in a single minute. The very portable .50-caliber machine gun does not act like a machine gun at all. Its maximum range is 22,220 feet---more than FOUR MILES. You can use it on light-armored vehicles and AIRPLANES. A single, inexperienced modern infantry soldier, with full combat support, has as much death at his fingertips as a 300-man company did in World War II."  



16 Jan 2007 @ 09:10 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : So how come I don't
feel reassured?

The Neocons and their far right cohorts tell us we are engaged in a "long war" against Evil, Islamofascism. And that more than a billion Muslims collectively desire to slit all our throats.

But in the meantime in Iraq we find ourselves engaged in guerrilla warfare with an enemy which is supposed to be our friend. And with friends who truly are our enemies, dissolving into the scenery nearby. Could it be our technology has outpaced our common sense?

We are in Iraq (and remain there) because we have to save it. To help our friends, the Iraqis, establish a bastion of democracy in the Arab world. As a result of our altruism. So according to The Lancet and Johns Hopkins we have already killed more than 650,000 friends as of last summer.

But the only way to win this war, the far right tells us, is by unshackling the military and letting them "do their job." So that we increasingly treat our friends as if they are our enemies. For, naturally enough, we have to clamp down upon the "insurgency." Even though this means that by killing our friends we are turning them into more enemies.

Sound familiar?  



16 Jan 2007 @ 10:29 by rayon : Rumours here -
we don't understand why they are not in the papers - well sourced - say that the bottle has got to Bush, despite his protestations. I am not quite sure of the significance of this, and have not sought to enquire, but it could mean changes perhaps? Last night there were treats via tv of the reality of the moselman (old usage for muslim) world, the contrivance which they continue to deny from several spheres of their untoward involvement in actions of incitement to all acts of violence within their own society beggars belief. Some of these high placed individuals have had diplomatic status conferred on them by request of arab royalty and therefore cannot be brought to book and can come and go as they please as virtual ambassadors of their unacknowledged cause. We have all been brought up to be kind to others who do not think like us and that is what it seems under these circumstances we are still doing. (This is one view only).

Basically, I say to them, that if you give up totally your Individuality, or the system which is closest to way of finding it, (some sort of Democracy), you sink, sink, sink, into the Zietgeist of a pure unadulterated systematic madness. Individuality means thinking for yourself and there are social systems in the world which goes some towards the realisation of this, to a greater or lesser degree. Find it, fast. I say to them.

OH yes, and the idea is to stay alive while doing this; everyone can be on their own in the afterlife this all too easy an achievement.  



16 Jan 2007 @ 16:56 by quinty : Here in the United States we are
told Bush is under the influence of Frederick Kagan, a Neocon's Neocon, who hasn't given up on the dream. Bush has lost many friends and is losing more. Not even Nixon at the height of Watergate had so many Republicans turn against him. Though LBJ lost many Democrats during the Vietnam War, and most of his supporters were Republican "stay the course" types who believed "you can't win a war with one arm tied behind your back." Amazingly, this current war has brought out many Bush supporters who are still griping about "losing" the Vietnam War. And I had thought we were all over that. That everyone understood by now it was an unwinable war. Apparently I was wrong.

Like the Stay the Coursers during Vietnam today's version wouldn't be loath to see Iraq flattened and turned into a parking lot in order to "win." And they offer many reasons why we have to "win," without dwelling on national honor, except obliquely. They tell us they believe the world will lose respect for us if we "lose." That that is what national pride means.

I heard a United States Senator say on TV the other day that there are 25 or 27 different militias in Baghdad alone. There are numerous sects, factions, gangs, and criminals on the loose who are operating freely there. Al Qaeda, according to some sources, only accounts for about five percent of the whole lot.

There truly are many different points of view there. And they do not see it the way we do. This is easy to believe because it conforms with what we know about human nature.

Everyone spouts self serving references to God when he goes off to war. Including the soldiers fighting under the banner of Christ. Everyone seems to believe God is on his side. Religion, though, is not the most powerful motivator of Arab anger and resentment against the west. Why, heck, we have collectively been cheeting, lying, and imposing our will on them for at least a century. A rerun of Lawrence of Arabia ran on TV last night. I watched for awhile but it's interesting that this 1962 film brings up the fact that the British promised the Arabs sovereignty over their own lands if they kicked out the Ottoman Turks. Ha ha, surprise surprise. And Lawrence, it appears, was hoodwinked too. The British never had any such intentions. Didn't the French carve up the Middle East with the British following the war? Not one border in the region is an Arabic border. They all reflect back on the western occupation, including Iran. The problems we have there can be traced directly back to 1953. Every American should know what happened then.

And so it has been.

The United States overreached this time though with Bush's insane war. And now it appears the US is preparing to attack Iran. Or to ally itself with israel if the latter (according to the London Times) attacks Iran this summer. There is even talk of using mini-nukes.

This is all madness. A Neocon's dream come true. Armageddon as our own religious zanies hope for or fear or whatever they do. How many millions of Americans believe in the Rapture? Does this mean we are a nation of religious fanatics?

But someone certainly sobered up in the last election. And even the mass news media appears to have finally become alarmed. After all, how far can deception and incompetence go?

I think if we left the Arab world alone they would leave us alone. This is not a religious matter. It is simply that they do not want us there anymore. And for me the most compelling argument, other than opinion surveys, is that the tally of western crimes committed against the Arabs is very great. That should make their suicide bombers more understandable without resorting to explanations of religious fanaticism.  



17 Jan 2007 @ 05:55 by rayon : I agree with all you have said
and share the same concerns too.

There could be reluctance on all sides to fully understand the situation, for very different reasons.  



17 Jan 2007 @ 11:27 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : And it would be so easy, too,
wouldn't it? All everyone would have to do is lay down their arms and walk away. Say this behavior is silly, stupid, why continue it?

That's all everyone would have to do.  



17 Jan 2007 @ 11:57 by jobrown : On my website
I have a little drawing that says it all! : ) www.heavenlyearth.net /// Bb A-d  


24 Jan 2007 @ 08:55 by jazzolog : Sleeping Through SOTU
Thanks heavens for people like Bryan Zepp, who not only stayed up and watched it (and on the West Coast too!) but stayed up even later and wrote about it. What a guy! As for me, the snowy night made for wondrous slumber. Ahhh, sweet drops of rest.

##############

It probably didn’t cheer anyone in the West Wing up when the CBS poll
came out three days before the State of the Union address showing that
his approval ratings had dropped to 28% – a number not seen in such
polls since the last week of the Nixon presidency.

A relatively popular president can rally voters through the SOTU and get
a bump in the polls. Clinton used it to devastating effect in 1998 in
the days following the Lewinsky scandal, when Republicans were wondering
if he should even give the speech at all, since his presidency was
clearly over. In that speech, the popular Clinton rallied supporters and
addressed critics through sheer intelligence and charisma. That SOTU
probably saved his Presidency. Despite the best efforts of the GOP
hatchetmen and the slime masquerading as journalists at Faux, his
popularity never dropped below 62%.

But the cruel irony of being an unpopular president lies in the fact
that people usually don’t bother watching a windy and largely
content-free speech by a president they don’t like. Hell, I just watched
it in hopes of gleaning enough to write a funny column. The next
thousand words will reveal whether it worked. In the meantime, I realize
that I may have been the only person in my county who watched the
speech. No, I don’t want your pity. Just send money.

An unpopular president can’t rally the troops because the troops aren’t
there to be rallied.

Normally, a president gets support when there is a sense of national
crisis. When that breaks down, of course, is when the public comes to
believe that the national crisis is, in fact, the president himself.
Nixon discovered this in 1974, as did Hoover in 1932.

So it didn’t matter how much he humped Pelosi’s leg in hopes of
political mileage stemming from some condescending “you’ve come a long
way, baby” kinds of remarks. It didn’t matter how many subway heroes he
applauded, or how many basketball stars he called “son of the Congo.”
His performance had all the hope and relevance of a trout flopping
around in the bottom of a boat.

There were a lot of things he didn’t talk about. For example, he didn’t
talk about the 100 hours of legislation that Pelosi successfully ran
through the House in just 87 hours. The closest he came was when he
discussed earmarks and, sounding like he had just thought of it,
suggested the House expose all earmarks to the light of day. The annual
number of earmarks had exploded three-fold in the previous six years,
but it took a Democratic takeover of Congress and legislation exposing
earmarks to the light of day to make Putsch decide that something needed
to be done about them.

The first comic highlight came when it came to health coverage, one of
those social necessities that wealthy Republicans like Putsch like to
sniff and dismiss as “entitlements.” Putsch wants to make the first
$7,500 of income tax exempt if the worker has health insurance. Since
much of that money is ALREADY exempt, this means that the worker is
promised he’ll get $200 of his own money back if he shells out $4,500 a
year to an insurance company which will then use the money to figure out
ways of screwing said worker out of his coverage. Putsch forgot to
mention the millions of people who can’t get health insurance because
they just don’t look very profitable to the insurance company.

Somehow I don’t think garment workers are going to be throwing
spontaneous “We love the President” parties at work tomorrow.

Just to add to the general sense of lunacy, Putsch pretended that the
typical worker who needed health insurance made $60, 000 a year, and so
would save quite a bit. Like, about $4,500 a year.

Somehow, I suspect that most of the low-end workers who don’t have
health insurance make less than $60,000 a year. In fact, I bet all of
them do. Quite a bit less, in most cases.

From there he sequed into immigration worker reform, which was a bit
unfortunate, since his party is crammed with xenophobes who routinely
scream that the reason health care in America is such a disaster is
because illegal aliens suck it all down. Republicans sat on their hands
for that, while the Democrats offered tepid applause. Putsch then took a
few stabs at alternative fuels, praising ethanol and suggesting that
America go green and energy-efficient while Cheney sat behind him and
smiled around the chamber with a “ain’t-NEVER-gonna-happen!” smirk on
his face.

From there, Putsch got to Iraq. There isn’t any way of polishing that
particular turd, and Putsch inadvertently revealed an inner truth in the
situation when he said, “Our success in this war is often measured by
the things that did not happen.” That’s one way of saying you got your
ass kicked, George. Admitting there is a problem is the first step.

A few moments later he said, “Our enemies are quite explicit about their
intentions. They want to overthrow moderate governments, and establish
safe havens from which to plan and carry out new attacks on our
country.” I’m sure quite a few people were wondering if he was talking
about al Qaida, or Project for a New American Century.

This lead to his second inadvertent truth of the night: “The result was
a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal that continues to
this day. This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight
we're in. Every one of us wishes this war were over and won.”

Oh, yeah, baby. Glad you figured it out before anyone got hurt.

He then led a stentorian call to “victory!!”, which got him a few
half-hearted claps from Joe Lieberman and the surviving Republicans
sitting to Putsch’s left. SOTUs aren’t noted for content or sincerity,
but it’s entirely possible that not one person in that building believed
that Putsch would lead America to any sort of victory in Iraq, including
Putsch himself. “Defining hour,” incidentally, is the latest
Putsch-speak for “Stay the course.”

He then did something very strange. He proposed privatizing a national
guard. “A second task we can take on together is to design and establish
a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps. Such a corps would function much
like our military reserve. It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces
by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on
missions abroad when America needs them. It would give people across
America who do not wear the uniform a chance to serve in the defining
struggle of our time.”

Yeah, privatizing the help has helped military morale so much. Generals
really appreciate it when the guy who cleans their office at night makes
more than they do. Privatizing the reserves with the same sort of people
who work for KBR or Halliburton should really improve the mood among the
troops.

That was pretty much it for the speech, notable only for the lack of
enthusiasm shown by House members and the fact that few people were
watching. “See you next year,” Putsch gamely concluded, but, like his
call to victory moments earlier, it was possible that not a single
person in that room believed that.

The Democrats picked Jim Webb of Virginia to give the Democratic
response. Short and sweet, and rather than comment upon it, I’ll just
finish this essay by including it here:


I'm Sen. Jim Webb, from Virginia, where this year we will celebrate the
400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown _ an event that marked
the first step in the long journey that has made us the greatest and
most prosperous nation on earth.

It would not be possible in this short amount of time to actually rebut
the president's message, nor would it be useful. Let me simply say that
we in the Democratic Party hope that this administration is serious
about improving education and health care for all Americans, and
addressing such domestic priorities as restoring the vitality of New
Orleans.

Further, this is the seventh time the president has mentioned energy
independence in his State of the Union message, but for the first time
this exchange is taking place in a Congress led by the Democratic Party.
We are looking for affirmative solutions that will strengthen our nation
by freeing us from our dependence on foreign oil, and spurring a wave of
entrepreneurial growth in the form of alternate energy programs. We look
forward to working with the president and his party to bring about these
changes.

There are two areas where our respective parties have largely stood in
contradiction, and I want to take a few minutes to address them tonight.
The first relates to how we see the health of our economy _ how we
measure it, and how we ensure that its benefits are properly shared
among all Americans. The second regards our foreign policy _ how we
might bring the war in Iraq to a proper conclusion that will also allow us
to continue to fight the war against international terrorism, and to address
other strategic concerns that our country faces around the world.

When one looks at the health of our economy, it's almost as if we are
living in two different countries. Some say that things have never been
better. The stock market is at an all-time high, and so are corporate
profits. But these benefits are not being fairly shared. When I
graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the
average worker did; today, it's nearly 400 times. In other words, it takes the average
worker more than a year to make the money that his or her boss makes in one day.

Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage
of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is
the highest in the world. Medical costs have skyrocketed. College
tuition rates are off the charts. Our manufacturing base is being
dismantled and sent overseas. Good American jobs are being sent along
with them.

In short, the middle class of this country, our historic backbone and
our best hope for a strong society in the future, is losing its place at
the table. Our workers know this, through painful experience. Our
white-collar professionals are beginning to understand it, as their jobs
start disappearing also. And they expect, rightly, that in this age of
globalization, their government has a duty to insist that their concerns
be dealt with fairly in the international marketplace.

--
"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking
about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has
changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're
talking about getting a court order before we do so"
-George W. Bush, April 20, 2004

Not dead, in jail, or a slave? Thank a liberal!
Pay your taxes so the rich don't have to.

http://www.zeppscommentaries.com  



24 Jan 2007 @ 15:17 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : A Paranoid thought

This is from last night’s speech.

“A second task we can take on together is to design and establish
a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps. Such a corps would function much
like our military reserve. It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces
by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on
missions abroad when America needs them. It would give people across
America who do not wear the uniform a chance to serve in the defining
struggle of our time.”

"Strange" indeed! And a bit scary. For what do we need a privatized civilian military? When we have a professional military under civilian (the Congress and President) scrutiny to begin with? Perhaps I'm projecting but the Joint Chiefs appeared flabbergasted last night when the president spoke these words. Could they possibly have been unaware of this scheme?

Okay, okay, I know it's paranoid. He may only be proposing a battalion of potato peelers and computer operators. But can there actually be something fishy here?

Bush is (or should be) notorious for throwing nice recommendations into his SOTUs and then forgetting all about them. And, true enough, sometimes they’re a little erratic. Last year, for example, he made mention of going after steroid users in professional sports. As if this issue somehow necessitated presidential scrutiny. And we never heard about it again. Could this "privatized" military be another imaginative brain bubble popping? A fleeting fancy which we (hopefully) will never hear of again? Or has Bush been planning something like this all along, not having expected the jig to be ever up in Iraq? No matter what purposes this civilian military force will serve, it harks clearly back on his “Long War.” For this civilian force would augment the military which is doing all the actual fighting. And it may also add billions to the defense budget.

Now this is where it gets scary.

Who would this private army be accountable to? A CEO beyond the reach of Congress or would it report to the Congress? And who could the CEO team up with? The president? And what might they do together here at home? Would this private military force be activated to respond to terrorists, civil unrest, or dissidents? All of which (as anyone who has looked at any history book knows) can easily be concocted.

Never mind. I admit this is all very paranoid. But Santa Barganza this guy has brought unusually scary times upon us. Like warrantless wire tapping, Guantanimo and Abu Ghraib, "renditions" (another spooky coinage), the suspension of habeas corpus, even the suggestion of plastic sheets across our doors and windows. Not to mention the needless war. And another, perhaps, to come.

Fortunately, the Congress will have to look at this idea. When we already have the greatest military force in the world is it necessary to create another one? Will this new army stick to potato peeling? Or will they be trained in the use of arms, in order to quickly mobilize in emergencies on orders of their employer, the President? Will the Congress actually allow this to happen?

And to think John Kennedy wanted to create the Peace Corps. And did, quite successfully. How come violence seems to be constantly on this president’s agenda?  



24 Jan 2007 @ 15:31 by bushman : Hmm
Maybe to keep people in state malitias busy?  


24 Jan 2007 @ 16:40 by jazzolog : What Is This "Hmm" Thing?"
The sound of a honeybee connecting with his hive?  


24 Jan 2007 @ 17:15 by bushman : Hmm,
Means "Im thinking" or "I think" that GW wants to keep our state malitias busy. For a few reasons, 1, is maybe the majority of our state malisias are white supremisists. 2, maybe the gunho people who the millitary wouldnt take, but now sees that the older folks, say in thier 40s, could help. Please feel free to fix my spelling. It's a style to form issue, Hmm, means it comes from my mind not so much my education.  


24 Jan 2007 @ 19:03 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : White supremesists

Did you hear, Kerry dropped out of the 2008 race today?

I somehow doubt it had anything to do with that verbal gaff of his, where he commented that those who don't get good grades and don't have promising futures join the army. Much too much was made of this, of course, but it was prime cud for the far right to chew on. Proof that "liberals" don't truly back the troops, smacking of "elitism." My guess is that Kerry was tired, his mind wandered, and he misread the script before him. it sounded sensible and he gave it no thought.

And now that that flap has passed it can be safely asserted again that many of the young people who join the armed services do so because they have no real options before them. That ineligantly Kerry actually spoke the truth.

At the time it was said Kerry's political career was washed up. Does anyone - but those still seething about Kerry's oppostion to the Vietnam War - remember that gaff? I doubt this insignificant lapse really influenced his announcement today. While we know the right will expand on anything to blow it up into something huge (Kerry a genuine war hero who was made to appear like a shirker, a fraud, while Bush's "war record" was washed pristinel pure) this incident would have eventually deflated to its true neglegebility by the 2008 election. At least I think so.

But what he said is nevertheless true. While some PhD's may be found in the ranks of the military, as well as some rich boys, adventurers, true blue patriots, and a variety of persons with different ideologies and backgrounds, most of the young volunteers are kids facing a career at Wal Mart or MacDonalds.

They may be young and innocent, well intentioned, full of illusions, hopeful, patriotic, eager to serve, and to serve at their best: but. There are still those who, as Bushman says, are gung ho militarists and white supremecists representing the whole panoply of authoritarians who love holding a gun and would only be too glad to smash a liberal "elitist's" head.

There three hundred million plus of us now. An army of the right could easily be formed. Is this what we want in our country?

I just thought i would add a twig or two to that fire.  



24 Jan 2007 @ 22:11 by vaxen : Heh...
Lavender tie and all. On his right "The Most Dangerous Game." On his left "The well bedded one." Our only "National Ritual" indeed! The supreme ritual of the well facaded "Criminal Class" of illusion funded "Pirates."

But did you catch any of the faces? The looks in the eyes? The body language of the "exchange?" How can one watch this ridiculous comedy of errors without succumbing to reiterative satire and... vigilance if not vengeance.

The owners of Corporate Washington hacked into this country long before 1913, create every single world war that has ever been, and dole out this pablum to the masses for one reason alone...

Total Dominance!

"Be: there. Be: aware." --- R ♥♥♥☺☺☺  



25 Jan 2007 @ 04:51 by jazzolog : But Seriously Folks
Heh heh, thanks for the hmmmming of various brains on this thread. But I want to add something to Quinty's private army "paranoid thought" up there.

Actually Paul from what I understand, soldiers don't peel potatoes in Iraq. That's one of the jobs outsourced to the thousands of private contractors over there. The contractors hire people from the most ghastly poor nations on earth and ship them to our army installations where they do the menial tasks buck privates used to do...and of course they do the jobs for pennies a day. Maybe Bush's scheme is to expand this highly successful foreign aid program to include our own unemployed, illegal immigrants, and recipients of the various "entitlement" programs that still exist somehow. Hey, pennies a day is a lot cheaper than it used to be to keep slaves!
More on contractors~~~ http://www.lewrockwell.com/chartier/chartier48.html

“By the accident of fortune a man may rule the world for a time, but by virtue of love and kindness he may rule the world forever.”

~Lao Tsu  



25 Jan 2007 @ 10:57 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Mercenaries

I didn't know where the "potato peelers" came from, and it wouldn't make much sense for US or foreign corporations to pay these "mercenaries" a hundred thousand plus a year merely to peel potatoes in Iraq. Though I wonder what the profits for the contractors are?

But I have read that there are more than twenty five thousand mercenaries, who are paid considerably more than soldiers and Marines, operating there. And that they are not accountable to our government.

The question remains: what will this "private" army Bush has proposed do? How well trained and equipped will they be? Who will they answer to? Why do we need a privatized military in the first place? And where will they be based?  



25 Jan 2007 @ 13:54 by bushman : A mounting
problem already.
{http://www.rense.com/general75/abi.htm}  



26 Jan 2007 @ 11:56 by quinty : And I'll go a step forward
in my speculations.....

I wouldn't be surprised if Bush and his circle of Neocons hadn't thought up establishing a "private" military service long ago. That the idea slipped out in the SOTU as a kind of afterthought. One which this president is familiar with and, perhaps due to this familiarity, he may not even perceive as outlandish?

How Neocon! A private on the shelf military force which Bush, as Commander in Chief, can deploy at will without any Congressional authorization (since it's not the US army) is right up their alley. They all believe in a "unitary" presidency, in flexing American muscle abroad and have little tolerance for dissent. How convenient for the president to have his own army. Dare I conjecture what he might want to do with it?

Thankfully, though, as one of you remarked in reply, the idea is DOA. Our current Congress would never go for such a cockanany idea. There still senators chairing committees who believe in the Constitution.

Richard, yes, I'm sure Barbara Bush will be pleased.

With that I'll lay to rest my paranoid fears. (Until the Bush crowd concocts something else. Tomorrow? Today? Or do we have to wait a week?)  



27 Jan 2007 @ 10:51 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : The plot thickens

Thanks to George Buddy for this, whose excellent blog can be found at:
"http://gbuddy.blogspot.com/"

Quinty...........


Extracted from the New Y ork Times
26, 2007, 9:51 am
Outsourcing the War


Has the Bush administration privatized our national defense? “Already, private
contractors constitute the second-largest ‘force’ in Iraq,” writes Jeremy
Scahill, author of the forthcoming book “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s
Most Powerful Mercenary Army,” in The Los Angeles Times. “At last count, there
were about 100,000 contractors in Iraq, of which 48,000 work as private
soldiers, according to a Government Accountability Office report.” Scahill
continues: These soldiers have operated with almost no oversight or effective
legal constraints and are an undeclared expansion of the scope of the
occupation. Many of these contractors make up to $1,000 a day, far more than
active-duty soldiers. What’s more, these forces are politically expedient, as
contractor deaths go uncounted in the official toll.  



9 Sep 2007 @ 11:52 by jazzolog : More Naomi Klein
Quinty leads off this thread with a lengthy excerpt from a Naomi Klein article. She's back in the thick of it this weekend with publication of a new book about capitalism's need for disaster in order that cash will flow. Not a totally new idea, but her approach and research brings the philosophy right up to date. She writes, "What [is] happening in Iraq and New Orleans was not a post-September 11 invention. Rather, these bold experiments in crisis exploitation were the culmination of three decades of strict adherence to the shock doctrine." A piece of the book, called The Shock Doctrine, appeared in the UK Guardian yesterday {link:http://business.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,2165023,00.html} but in case it doesn't stay, TruthOut has it too~~~

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/090807A.shtml

To pre-order the book, due out in the States next week, and to learn more, try this page at her site~~~

http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine/where-to-buy  



14 Sep 2007 @ 23:33 by quinty : Naomi Klein

The form of Capitalism she describes also has another name - Fascism.

Capitalist fundamentalists, very well said. A form of fundamentalism so widespread and deep in the United States that anyone who sees a role for government in solving our nation’s problems - healthcare, for example - can be viewed as an acolyte of Joe Stalin. (Never mind that the private sector is incapable of providing the free healthcare millions of uninsured poor and those just getting by need.)

Many Americans live in a dream, that dream being “the American dream.” And in that dream we are all equal and free, “middleclass.” Our prospects, individually and as a people, are limitless. And God, of course, smiles upon us all.

But there are many enemies out there, strange inferior peoples who “hate us for who we are.” Who hate us for our innate American superiority. As well as for our great wealth and possessions. Which, in fact, express who we truly are, making us all, in this consumer driven society, equals among the chosen. No wonder inferiors hate us.

So there are those (a diminishing number) among the poor in the United States who believe George Bush is actually their friend. That he has their best interests at heart. And that with his war in Iraq he is trying to protect us all from “evil.”

How often the right invokes “evil!”

“Don’t you want us to win in Iraq?” they ask. “Can’t you see this is a war against evil? That defeat is not an option? Are you rooting for the other side? Do you hate your own country? Support the troops!”

Shows how far our arguments against the war have gotten. We can’t even get through the doorstep inside the front door. Evil, they say? Houptman! as a saloon keeper I once knew used to say. Something even worse may be hiding beneath the bed.

The iraq War appears to have taken on a life of its own. And the current reasons which are offered for remaining there are unrelated to the original reasons for invading. Now the president is talking about some sort of permanent alliance with the government of Iraq, a continuing strategic presence. Why, isn’t that what the Neocons wanted from the very beginning? Wasn’t that why we went in in the first place?

If ever an army of several hundred thousand (a million?) Muslims invaded our country I would hope our rightwing Christian fundamentalists would fight as hard against them as the Arab “insurgents” fight against us.

Thoughts of God tend to come to all soldiers fighting for a “just” cause. And God is always on our “our” side, whichever one that may be. All soldiers have marched into battle with God on their side. Isn’t that true?

We may exaggerate, for propaganda purposes, the importance God has over on the Muslim side. But studies show that they are actually more interested in “revenge” when they strap bombs about their waists than in the 30 or 40 virgins Allah promised them. And in driving the western invaders out. That God’s part in all this is that He offers His moral support. Just like us.

I listen to the right. I try to be fair, and follow their arguments as well as I can. But no matter what they say, about patriotism, “supporting the troops,” the need to “win” this war, “Islamo fascism,” I can’t get around the basic realities.

That the Iraqi people do not truly want us there. That we actually have no legitimate business there. That we can't impose our image of the world upon all these warring groups. Nor do we have a right to. And that the background of our involvement in this war is totally corrupt, undermining whatever moral justification we may have for being there.

The argument they rely on is the only one remaining to them. That we are in a war against global terrorism and it’s central focus is Iraq. And that we need to win this war to save our country against hordes of Muslim terrorists.

And we disparage the Arabs for invoking God? This Neocon argument is all faith based and produced as quickly as the mind can produce it.

Iraq is a figment, a dream, an unreality. Our discomfort is caused by its persistent reality, nudging against our dreams. If only Iraq would behave, we would all be so happy. And our blessings would be shed over all the Mideast.

Only a small percentage of Americans even have passports. Why should we expect them not to believe the Arabic world is waiting, with open arms, for Ozzie and Harriett?  



6 Apr 2009 @ 10:41 by David @193.227.170.13 : Argghhh
Excuse me. Even the best of friends need time apart.
I am from Bosnia and also now'm speaking English, please tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "Book travel for less with specials on cheap airfares, hotels, cruises, car rentals and flights with travelocity."

Regards :-( David.  



7 Apr 2009 @ 10:25 by jazzolog : Why Me?
Loan sharks everywhere! Your English is lousy, but your American is well understood.  


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Other entries in
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