Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Israel to bomb Iran

Word by way of Pakistan is that Israel (blue on the map at left) is very interested in attacking Iran (red) to stop the latter's nuclear ambitions. Writes the Daily Times, "...time is running out and ... if Israel is to attack Iran, it should be now when Bush is in office. [Isreal's war hawks] stress that there is now a 'favorable window of opportunity' that will close with the US presidential election in November, and that Israel can only depend on American support for as long as current US President George W. Bush is still in charge in Washington."

Now forgive me, but this actually makes a modicum of sense. Israel is literally up in arms over the Iranian nuclear ambitions, and Israel has some guns to make an assault. The United States has little motivation to embark on such a mission unilaterally, even with the precedent of attacking Iraq to stave off the fictitious WMD, but if Israel does it with the backing of the United States, well then we have a war on our hands! And what a conflagration it can be. Israel can use the United States' precedent of a preemptive strike as justification for their strike against Iran, and Iran will take up arms against Isreal. If this should somehow become a land war, guess who's in between! When will the insanity end? Once again, bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity.

Time to impeach.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Microbes making petrolium

A Silicon Valley company called LS9 is fermenting waste plant matter and getting petroleum out of it. "Scientists find bugs that eat waste and excrete petrol," says The Times Online. This goes quite nicely with I, Cringley's column calling for a change of our "platform" for energy. October 2007 National Geographic Magazine suggested such a breakthrough wasn't far away.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Impeachment is imperative for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is exercise of the authority of the legislative branch which has heretofore been usurped by the White House and a litany of signing statements, wiretapping, and other violations of the will of the people as expressed by Congress. This is a test of our Constitution, and if we fail to impeach in this case, we have demonstrated that the chief executive must do something truly extraordinary - far worse than a regular citizen's felony, to be impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors."

I will be the first to agree that impeachment of Clinton was a mistake. He was impeached for lying under oath about a tawdry affair. Bush's crimes have had a much larger impact on our nation, our world, our economy, and our general well being than a tabloid sex scandal and they deserve to be investigated. That is the purpose of impeachment. Do not delay. Do your utmost to get Bush out as soon as possible so that he may not wage war against Iran or make other horrendous mistakes.

Sign the latest petition to support Dennis Kucinich's articles of impeachment!

War with Iran or no?

The Times reports on Bush: "President Bush has admitted to The Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a “guy really anxious for war” in Iraq. He said that his aim now was to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran."

And then there's this from The Guardian: "President Bush on Wednesday raised unprompted the possibility of a military strike against Tehran's presumed nuclear weapons ambitions, speaking bullishly on Iran even as he admitted having been unwise to do so previously about Iraq."

The Guardian goes on to point out that an attack on Iran is tactically "extremely difficult", but one might point out that maintaining peace on the ground in Iraq with a force far less than 20 per thousand Iraqis is tactically "extremely difficult," too.

Is it me, or is this guy a politician in the extreme, saber rattling on one hand and claiming to be less than really anxious for war on the other.

I say we should impeach him before he has an opportunity to order an Iran strike in late October. Sign up at WexlerWantsHearings.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bush Did His Best

I'm reasonably certain that George W. Bush has done what he though was best for the country at most if not all opportunities. I just don't think he was very smart about quite a few huge items on the domestic and international stages. I imagine this is for a variety of reasons: 1) I don't think he is very accepting of opinions differing from his once he's made up his mind. 2) I suspect several of his advisers are acting in self-interest (consider the Cheney-Haliburton connection, for one, and see the amount of money being funneled into political campaigns and lobbying in Washington for another source of corruption) 3) I expect he gets much of his input from those advisers before making up his mind and 4) I'm not convinced that he is especially smart, given his C grades at Yale. None of this says he's a bad person or in any way unpatriotic, just misinformed, resolute, and ill-suited to his present job.

Domestically, the only complaints I have with him are regarding logging old-growth forests that had previously been protected and an energy policy that focuses on increased consumption of non-renewable resources and research into inefficient renewables like ethanol and hydrogen fuel cells to the exclusion of other, more urgent needs like improving vehicle fuel efficiency and our railroad system. I also don't like his warrantless wiretapping on U.S. citizens, which you might say is justified, but I would point out that there is a court in place to authorize such things, and the court was not consulted. "No Child Left Behind" has proven to be aimed at getting students out of public schools and into private ones, because its requirements are impossible to meet. How are English as a second language (ESL) students going to improve their test scores as a group when the group is always rotating because they are the ones who are new to the country? I'm also disappointed in various political appointments, such as Michael Brown as FEMA head, who had no relevant experience when he took the job. There are a few other issues, but those are the biggest in my mind today.

Politicians favoring cronies has cost many countries much livelihood. I imagine it is mostly corruption that Mexicans have to thank for their present economic state. In every administration, and especially in the most recent, we have a fine example of our President returning political favors by making appointments of unqualified people to various positions and then wondering why things didn't work out. If I were President, I would hire a staffing firm to find some qualified cabinet members!

Internationally, Bush got off on the wrong foot at the start of his administration when he as much as said, "The Middle East is not my problem. Let the Middle Easterners sort it out." It didn't take him long to change his tune. The war with Iraq was a colossal blunder and should not have been undertaken. It was a presented as a conflation of two events that were unrelated (9/11 hijackings were clearly linked to Al Quida and Afghanistan, but not to Iraq). The Iraq reconstruction was undertaken with all the foresight of a fifth grader. We learned much in the reconstruction of Japan and West Germany that could have been useful in Iraq, but history was disregarded because we supposedly had new methods that would make troops more efficient. When Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki suggested in a Congressional Briefing that it might take "several hundred thousand soldiers," more troops than the White House wanted, he was sidelined within four months of that accurate assessment because it was not politically expedient. Guantanamo Bay is a national disgrace. How can we claim to be fighting terrorism when we take innocent civilians off the streets in foreign countries and imprison them halfway around the globe? Ah, "But they're not innocent", you might say. And I ask how you would know that, since they haven't been tried in 5 years, they haven't had access to courts, and everything related to the camp has been a fiasco. These people have been held against their will and without any recourse whatsoever. What's more, a number of them have been tortured. It is only this White House that would try to coerce information from a prisoner who hasn't been in the loop for 5 years. Imagine the furious families those political prisoners left behind. Unfortunately, the nearly solo invasion and continued occupation of Iraq has cost this country dearly in terms of international clout. (If you doubt this, try discussing our President with any foreigner, or better yet, travel abroad and discuss our politics.) You don't have to take my word for it, either. Just look at the performance of the U.S. Dollar for his term. It has been on a steady decline.

In summary, I suppose if Bush had been specifically determined to ruin our country, he would have been more efficient about it, but he has fairly effectively ruined the economy by spending money we didn't have for a war we didn't need, taken our freedoms by listening to our communications, spent our international political capital to zero, and done his best to see that the public school system is ineffective. In all, he has done a fantastic job of wrecking things in spite of his best efforts.

U.S. Dollar at Record Lows

The U.S. Dollar has been going down against other currencies since April, 2002. Whomever touts parity with the Canadian Dollar as news hasn't been watching as we got ourselves into this mess. You have to go back more than 35 years to find a time when the Dollar was worth less than it is now.

Now we need to turn it around and make the greenback worth something. One way to do help is by not spending so much overseas. Just a thought.

Source: Federal Reserve