Friday, September 28, 2007

This explains a lot--

Bush-Aznar Transcript: The War Crime of the Century

I made two claims about the transcript published by El Pais of Bush's conversations with Spanish leader Jose Maria Aznar on 22 February, 2003, at Crawford, Texas.

The first is that the transcript shows that Bush intended to disregard a negative outcome in his quest for a UN Security Council resolution authorizing a war against Iraq. Bush wanted such a resolution. He expressed a willingness to use threats and economic coercion to secure it. But he makes it perfectly clear that he will not wait for the UNSC to act beyond mid-March. He also explicitly says that if any of the permanent members of the UNSC uses its veto, "we will go." That is, failure to secure the resolution would trigger the war.

Uh, that is the opposite of the way it is supposed to work. If you can't get a UNSC resolution, and you haven't been attacked by the state against whom you want to go to war, then you are supposed to stand down.

Both because he set a deadline beyond which his "patience" would not stretch (the poor thing had already waited four months; I mean, is he a toddler that he lacks elementary patience?), and because he specified a UNSC veto as a signal for his launching of the war, Bush made it very clear that he was willing to trash the charter of the United Nations and to take the world back to the 1930s,to an era of mass politics when powerful states launched wars of choice at will on the basis of fevered rhetoric and fits of pique.

The second claim that I made was that Bush was aware of, and rejected, an offer by Saddam Hussein to flee Iraq, probably for Saudi Arabia, presuming he could take out with him a billion dollars and some documents on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. Both provisions were intended by Saddam to protect him from later retaliation. The money would buy him protection from extradition, and the documents presumably showed that the Reagan and Bush senior administrations had secretly authorized his chemical and biological weapons programs. With these documents in his possession, it was unlikely that Bush would come after him, since he could ruin the reputation of the Bush family if he did. The destruction of these documents was presumably Bush's goal when he had Rumsfeld order US military personnel not to interfere with the looting and burning of government offices after the fall of Saddam. The looting, which set off the guerrilla war, also functioned as a vast shredding party, destroying incriminating evidence about the complicity of the Bushes and Rumsfeld in Iraq's war crimes.

Aznar asked Bush if he would grant Saddam these guarantees, and Bush roared back that he would not.

By refusing to allow Saddam to flee with guarantees, Bush ensured that a land war would have to be fought. This is one of the greatest crimes any US president ever committed, and it is all the more contemptible for being rooted in mere pride and petulance.

Note that even General Pervez Musharraf allowed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to go to Saudi Arabia with similar guarantees, even though Sharif was alleged to have attempted to cause Musharraf's death. A tinpot Pakistani general had more devotion to the good of his country, and more good sense, than did George W. Bush.

The passage in which Bush agrees with Aznar that it would be better if Baghdad fell without a fight refers to the possibility that the Iraqi officer corps would assassinate Saddam and decline to put up a fight. Bush would very much have liked such a fantasy to come true.

But he did not need to fantasize. He had a real offer in the hand, of Saddam's flight. He rejected it. By rejecting it, he will have killed at least a million persons and became one of the more monstrous figures in recent world history.

I have done a translation of the transcript, with some dictionary work. I would be glad of any corrections, but I think it is good enough for government work. No one can read it without recognizing that Bush was champing at the bit to go to war; that he only wanted the UNSC as a fig leaf and was determined to ignore it if it did not authorize the war; and that he had a deal on the table from Saddam but absolutely refused to pursue it, preferring instead either a sanguinary conflict or his adolescent fantasy of Baghdad falling without a shot.

I was all set last night to write something about this along the same lines, but Mr. Cole already did this. Why bother? The Bold is mine, and it explains quite a bit. Otherwise we spent way over the $1 billion Saddam wanted to go quietly into the night. I mean, the Bush family reputation certainly is worth teh over 1,000,000 dead bodies, isn't it?


Jaco Pastorius - The Chicken

Damn could he play! rojo

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Today's minor thought

from :

"The argument about whether Cheney/Bush went into Iraq over petroleum is not interesting. Of course they did, one way or another. The question is what exactly they thought they were doing about Iraq's petroleum. I would argue that they threw public resources (perhaps as much as two trillion dollars worth when all is said and done) to secure profits for private companies. Otherwise, the US public will never, ever realize the sort of savings from the development of Iraqi petroleum that would compensate them for the blood and treasure they have spent in Iraq. (Not to mention the opportunity costs of squandering so many resources on a quagmire, when the public investment could have been put to much better uses).*

So we have $2,000,000,000,000 of taxpayer money given to private corporations (aka corporate welfare). What could have happened if we had given $2 trillion dollars to companies in an energy initiative to lower our dependence on oil and fossil fuels? We would have been world leaders in NEW marketable technology. Yes, industry where we would have been world leaders at a marketable technology just like when we were the world auto leaders.

maybe if we get a Democratic president, we can get solar panels back on the White House. That would be cool symbolically--instead of going back to the future. It would be fun to have people in charge who do not need enemies to create a war time economy and look at having a world citizenship.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Golly Geez--

If you read Trapper John's statement today in Daily Kos and many of the comments you would see what could at best be a cross-section of many public thoughts. Keeping in mind that many of thoughts are from so-called progressives, they amaze me. Most of the comments get that this about the loss of the middle class as the cost of employee benefits is rising greater than the cost of living. Companies have to make profits in a world market in order to employee people. That is a given. Simple math, cost of living raises are maybe 3.25%. That means if you give an employee a 3.25% pay increase and the cost of benefits is around 35-38%, you have just given them a 3.25% raise plus the 35% benefits that gone on with this making it about a 4.2% raise (1.35 * 0.0325 = 4.3875% total raise). The cost of the products have to raise maybe 5% to make everything stay the same, leading to a slow inflation.

What becomes questionable is how much profit and how much CEOs are paid (are they really rock stars), are there pensions (almost unheard of these days) and how much this raises the cost to the consumer. Is the price still viable? Looking at cars, the costs of American cars because of higher labor costs are more than the equivalent foreign product. In order to protect industry we could reinstitute tariffs, making foreign autos competitively priced. Or we can allow foreign competition in unbridled and see what American ingenuity can come up with. How can we be competitive if we do this? Can't. So jobs have to move overseas. Or we cut salaries and benefits. Both have happened in an ever-increasing curve so share holders can have their profits.

As a manager of auto repair shops and environmental companies I have seldom have used union labor, but paid commensurate benefits, just to keep away from the politics of unions. Until recently. Pensions have disappeared, medical costs are going up. It is hard to keep up as a manager and if we do not make a profit, we close the doors. From my standpoint it sucks. Love that middle management position. Same thing is going on at GM. I feel for them. But they have made many BAD decisions as far as market desires and engineering.

One comment that made me nuts was to give up the auto industry and retrain the employees. Yes, making burgers will replace those salaries. We need to get tariffs, cut CEO salaries, management salaries, get national health care and look at the percent return required by shareholders. Maybe more. We cannot be competitive with foreign companies anymore. The question is what do we do. What remedies do we make. Free market economy makes us all the poorer (unless you are the owner.)


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thoughts while on the Road

Last night I made a snarky post about how fat we have become as Americans. How our freedom has given us the ability to be so fat no one in their right mind wants to sit next to us in a 737.

Okay, maybe a little harsh, but you get the point. This week the buzz is Greenspan admits Iraq was all about oil. "How dare those bastards have our oil under their soil. We'll show them and invade their pissant little country, occupy it and make money for our buddies (Halliburton, Parsons and Black Water. If they don't like it PISS ON THEM and the camels they rode in on..." So what if we kill a few (1,000,000 and counting) citizens and rape a few on the way.

Okay, so we invaded and condemned a mass murderer. He was a BAD guy. serious bad. Attacking him was like attacking the local perv who gets off killing puppies. But, God, our ocupation is heartless and ugly.

Freedom no more means we can be 400+ pounds than it does we can be a bully. We have all this military strength. Few can stand up to us. But might does not make right. Whatever happened to social contracts, world citizenship, moral leadership? With great strength comes great responsibility, unlike Ayn Rand's world view.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Typing Skills be Damned

So far today, my fingers seem to be hitting three keys at once. Arthritis is fun. For example, the word typing originally came out "typohjngk". But here goes--

From the LA Times:
In a simple experiment reported today in the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists at New York University and UCLA show that political orientation is related to differences in how the brain processes information.

Previous psychological studies have found that conservatives tend to be more structured and persistent in their judgments whereas liberals are more open to new experiences. The latest study found those traits are not confined to political situations but also influence everyday decisions.

The results show "there are two cognitive styles -- a liberal style and a conservative style," said UCLA neurologist Dr. Marco Iacoboni, who was not connected to the latest research.

Participants were college students whose politics ranged from "very liberal" to "very conservative." They were instructed to tap a keyboard when an M appeared on a computer monitor and to refrain from tapping when they saw a W.

M appeared four times more frequently than W, conditioning participants to press a key in knee-jerk fashion whenever they saw a letter.

Each participant was wired to an electroencephalograph that recorded activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain that detects conflicts between a habitual tendency (pressing a key) and a more appropriate response (not pressing the key). Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes than conservatives when they saw a W, researchers said.

So what is being said is that being a conservative (actually the way the experiment is explained here, it really is textbook definition reactionary) is a choice just as much as being gay. At least in many cases. I wonder if we can establish schools that can heal that malady as easily as being gay. Religious-based conversions seem to work so well. Oh, the irony that a repetitive incorrect response is hard-wired into a conservatives' brain. Makes you wonder if this is genetically passed down and can account for geographic areas being conservative.

In seriousness, though, some of this (conservative mind set) has to be genetics and some is reinforced learning. I can recall when some kids went to college and parental influence or religious influence was released, drug-taking, hard drinking sexual hijinks ensued until some level of maturity and choice making was developed. I would not be surprised to see if genetic predispositions actually have some influence on whether someone is ecstatic or mystical, as opposed to traditionally religious or atheist. The same in politics and sexual orientation. It may influence the way that the brain interprets signals electrochemically and actuates parts of the brain function, just as some families seem to have higher IQs than others, or have a bent towards poetry as opposed to engineering. Or are just plain stupid. I would not be surprised if genetically brains in individuals are not amorphis blobs, but actually have different levels of development in different areas. In some, the speech areas are seemingly overdeveloped (he said snidely), in others musical creativity.

Our Preznut's response to this war reminds of Bart Simpson as he becomes part of Lisa's science experiment. He touches an electrode, gets shocked, says "OW" and continues to do that.

I am convinced that much human activity is not predetermined by genetics, but there are genetic predispositions and as humans we grossly underestimate their influence on our behavior. The challenge we call life if actually being rational, ecstatic, forgiving, loving, encompassing and getting along, even though the guy (or gal) next to you may be genetically beautiful or handsome, or genetically predisposed to gas, or genetically predisposed to anger reactions. And what we do to get along as a society.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Good words from

"Like a vibration that causes a bridge to collapse, the 9/11 attacks exposed grave weaknesses in our nation's defenses, our national institutions and ultimately our national character. Many more Americans have now died in a needless war in Iraq than were killed in the terror attacks, and tens of thousands more grievously wounded. Billions of dollars have been wasted. America's moral authority, more precious than gold, has been tarnished by torture and lies and the erosion of our liberties. The world despises us to an unprecedented degree. An entire country has been wrecked. The Middle East is ready to explode. And the threat of terrorism, which the war was intended to remove, is much greater than it was.All of this flowed from our response to 9/11. And so, six years later, we need to do more than mourn the dead. We need to acknowledge the blindness and bigotry that drove our response. Until we do, not only will the stalemate over Iraq persist, but our entire Middle Eastern policy will continue down the road to ruin."


Thursday, September 06, 2007


It is just one of those days at the end of my heart's capacity to hear much more. Let's see--15 of 18 benchmarks aren't met (so we need to change then as they weren't good benchmarks). Cheney again is no longer part of the executive branch (of course, until he needs executive privilege). We can raise money for war, but not for the health insurance of children. The Decider really didn't decide to get rid of the Iraqi military--someone else did (except letters from Bremmer prove otherwise--George, being in charge means taking the shit for bad decisions). The Iraqi security forces should be disbanded and the process started again. Oh yes, and the media still reports that Bush states there is progress. Good boy, good boy. Sit roll over. Now give me your paw. By now he should have at least ten assholes, after having new ones ripped repeatedly.

And the problem with Vietnam is we did not stay long enough. Amazing how many doughy-faced white men say that and they never fucking served. Fish-lips Cristol, Turdblossom (aka Satan), Cheney, Bush (too may drugs and booze to even finish his deferment service). The list is endless.

Is it time to suck it up again? like here.

I hope so.

But I need a day to gather my energy.

and in total disclosure, I am moving and packing, so guess who won't be protesting anytime soon.

But I am betting many Americans out there are tired, trying to pay mortgages that were fixed by working two good-paying manufacturing jobs at MickeyDs. Since when is a Joe Job manufacturing? Just remember, if you keep people running to hard, they can't protest, or even be coherent. Until this.

Funny how we never hear of this in history class.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt

Okay, there is no company store anymore, so maybe the headline is a little outdated. But there has been much chest-beating by Republicans over the rise in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) showing how strong the American economy is.

Today, CNN released a study that showed Americans have increased productivity by 20% over the past 7 years and are the most productive in the industrialized world. So, of course, the wages of the American worker has increased the same as their productivity and their buying power must have done the same.

But, wait! American workers have remained stagnant for 7 years, for all practical purposes. So this increased productivity has gone to shareholders as dividends or to executive salaries (VP and above) as their income has increased 348 times in that same period.

As an average consumer, there has been roughly a 3.25% increase in Consumer Price Index every year for the past 7 years. This should account for a raise in wages of almost 21%. Stand with me if your income has not increased by 21% over the past 7 years. And keep in mind that the CPI is a little slanted as included in the CPI has been the cost of housing as it appreciated almost 70% over the past ten years. That means you have a bunch more assets (not liquid and spendable of course) to offset the higher energy, car and food prices. Many consumers did the second mortgage against their assets to keep afloat routine.

Now, you are expected, as a worker, to have that 20% greater work output. You have more debts against your housing (if you have a house anymore). And wages are flat. So where did all that money go? Keep in mind the national debt has steamrollered the past 7 years.

Shareholders have it. CEOs have it. Workers do not. Who received the tax breaks in the past 6 years? Was it the workers, who are busting their asses? No, it is the upper 1/2 of 1% who control over one-half of the money in the country. And please keep in mind that over 70% of all the national debt has been caused by 3 presidents--Bush 1, Bush II and Reagan--the monsters and poster boys of free market economy. They did NOT practice "pay as you go" but rather said that and ran up debts that were astronomical. Don't have money for something--PRINT MORE MONEY. Sell the treasury bonds to the highest bidder (how much American debt is owned by China and Saudi is topic for another essay probably entitled "Short hairs" of "Bend Over".)

What has happened is that the average American has has their respective purchasing power drop 20% in the past 7 years, where the ruling class (economically and pragmatically, remember the haves and the have-mores) have had their earnings increase exponentially. Housing costs have gone up. And in order to pay for the workings of the American government, social programs have been cut and the average taxpayer now picks up most of the tab. I don't know about you, but having to pay more tax that Dick Cheney, while he is on a retainer from Halliburton and in public office angers me.

Remember the Preznut stating that the economy had to be healthy because so many Americans now owned houses under his leadership? Guess what? That is coming home to roost too. There were lending schemes that were somewhat risky applied to the now lower-income workers to make that happen. That is falling apart. And to help home owners in need. NO! But there will be bailouts (remember the simpler days of hate and welfare queens driving Cadillacs--like that ever really happened) for the mortgage companies and banks. And they will be called necessary for the economy, not CORPORATE welfare. And the average American taxpayer who may recently have been booted from their homes will have to foot the bill through taxes.

What this will create is a buyer's market. For example, Bank of America bailing out Consolidated Mortgage network. Oh yes, they will own it. and this happened the same week Bank of America raised their credit card rates, coincidentally. Again, the average American that needs credit cards will pay for wealth consolidation. You will see a bull market, with the weaker firms being bought by healthier firms and the "Good will" (aka bad investments that are going to be written off) costs being passed on to the consumer.

Not a pretty picture, as safety regulations, health care, etc. that typical Americans rely on will be booted to the roadside as wealth is rearranged into the hands of fewer and fewer.

However, never underestimate the spirit of the American people to rally and recover. America is the land of Hot Rods and innovation. All the populace needs is a leader and a fair tax plan and we are on the road to recovery. (if your salary increases 348 times in the next seven years would you be adverse to giving maybe one-half of that to the government in taxes? or would a further tax cut be better for America as a a whole?) It doesn't always take that long. Look what happened to the National Debt under Clinton.

So here is hoping for real leader soon. And perhaps some good, common sense fiscal policies.