Sunday, July 25, 2010

#230 The Bush/Obama War Exposed Again

Okay, back to Obama's War and the current counterpoint to Vietnam's My Lai Massacre, last entry. I posted the above atrocity back in April (DM #219-220), and I'll repeat it here, again courtesy of WikiLeaks, which gave it the headline "Collateral Murder." Scroll down to read, view, hear the whole abhorrent story of wanton civilian killage, including terminal child abuse by 30 mm aerial cannon fire.

Light 'em all up. Come on fire ... Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards.

BECAUSE ... Wikileaks is in the news again TODAY, big time, as they have pulled a back-to-the-future "Pentagon Papers"-style coup of massive proportions, exposing over a period of a half-dozen years the blood-drenched futility of our doomed AfPak Adventure. The so-called "Afghan War Diary" is a compilation of 90,000 U.S. military records that "give a blow by blow account of unreported civilian killings as well as covert operations against Taliban figures"--what the British press has already characterized as "a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan." (See full AP story here.)

The earlier Wiki-"leak" above had its Keystone-Cop-esque consequences of its own--a la Vietnam Whistleblower Dr. Daniel "Pentagon Papers" Ellsberg forty years ago--early on as the alleged Leaker, one Army Spec. Bradley Manning, 22, was chased down and arrested in early June, and now faces 52 years in a military prison.

Meanwhile, the FOUNDER of WikiLeaks, an Australian bloke exotically named Julian Assange, has faced a virtual fatwa put on him by the Pentagon, ever since the "Collateral Murder" video surfaced. He's in virtual hiding. After Bradley's arrest, Ellsberg, himself a Vietnam Marine veteran who saw the light, recommended in an interview he'd best stay that way (here).

(Should it be at all surprising that events will continue to prove the incontrovertible parallels of the Middle East Wars with Vietnam?--as those in the know have known to be there all along.)

NOW, after Mr. Assange somehow got hold of an unbelievable 90,000 Pentagon documents and released them on WikiLeaks today, he'd best head for the wastes of the Outback. And find a Hussein Hole somewhere. For their content is altogether rather bad P.R. for the U.S. of A. Among other disclosures:

The leaked records include detailed descriptions of raids carried out by a secretive U.S. special operations unit called Task Force 373 against what the U.S. officials considered high-value insurgents and terrorist targets. Some of these raids resulted in unintentional killings of AFGHAN CIVILIANS, according to the documents. (AP)

For example: the AP cites one operation in June 2007 which "resulted in a death tally [!] that the U.S. military document said include SIX enemy fighters and SEVEN noncombatants--ALL CHILDREN." Shirts and skins ... the innocents win.

And the White House response to all this? The usual. It condemned the document disclosure, saying it "put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk."

Good. The more the better in the righteous cause of getting us the hell out of there.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

#229 Good Libertarianism: On War

This is My Lai, but I make no apologies for throwing it up again as a reminder of the reality of interventionist foreign wars. We just never learn. If there's any doubt that America has gone "back to the future" and is now fully become the militaristic nation it was in the 60's and early 70's, it's should be dispelled by this recent headline and lead:

General George Casey. the chief of Staff of the Army, said today the United States could face another "decade or so" of persistent conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. (CBS News 7-8-10 here)

A "decade or SO"!!!!!--welcome to the first half of the American 21st Century. To tangentialize a moment: this guy, George W. (!) Casey Jr., is 61 years old. He's a true "Junior" in that his father was also an army man, a First Cavalry Division commander shot down and killed in Vietnam in 1970. Son George Jr. was born in Korea, where his father was stationed during that ill-advised conflict, only one among ALL OF THEM since WWII, which is to this very day (check the news last month) an uneasy standoff, sixty years on, never having been won or lost. (This is in spite of the old joke that the M*A*S*H TV series lasted longer than the war it depicted. It really, and sadly, didn't) But the General is to the manner born, and his "siege mentality" would seem to be inbred. Isn't it nice to foresee one's security in the latter years of one's career, even unto retirement or death--no matter the tribute paid in thousands and thousands of human lives. In a former age Casey might have been called a warlord, if not surely a mercenary.

Listen, our bloated military-industrial complex, which Gen/Prez Eisenhower warned us about HALF a century ago, drains HALF the national treasury every year, and grabs HALF your annual Federal income taxes paid. Somebody's got to pay General Casey's salary. He mongers the war that he's getting paid to fight. A perpetual motion machine, if ever there was. But nothing new. And haven't they done a god job of it?! Afghanistan is now America's LONGEST WAR, finally surpassing Vietnam, its fraternal twin.

Yes, 50% of your annual tax bill goes to the misnamed "Defense" Department. Why aren't the self-proclaimed Taxed-Enough-Already/Tea Baggers on top of this? They should be all over it like white on angry old white men. Never comes up. Why?--because, also self-proclaimed, they are 80% Republicans, and that's just contrary to the party line. Convoluted irony of ironies: just last week, unlucky, incongruously-African-American RNC Chair, Michael Steele, got in trouble again for being a sleeper-cell Democrat, even though he was directly attacking the President! "It's Obama's War ... let's get the hell out"--or some such. This seriously brassed-off the foreign-interventionists of both parties, including even the anti-war faction of the Democrats, who would rather continue to blame the whole megilla on the two Bushes. They're right, but so too, at the same time, is Michael Steele.

It proves something else about the Tea Baggers. They are far from being classical Libertarians, at least in terms of what has always been a most important foundational pillar of the Party:

We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to DEFEND the United States against aggression. The United States should both AVOID ENTANGLING ALLIANCES and abandon its attempts to act as POLICEMAN FOR THE WORLD. We oppose any form of compulsory national service.

That comes right out of the Libertarian Party 2010 Platform (here), but is also right out of the Vietnam War and the American misadventures that followed, and are still going on. DEFENSIVE WARS ONLY, if you please. The platform righteously purloins the very terms another George W. used long ago--foreshadowing Ike many years later--"Beware foreign entanglements" of the military sort, said the Father of Our Country in his Farewell Address, and we wouldn't have to fight wars of any kind. We just never learn. (more)

Friday, July 9, 2010

#228 Have the Tea Baggers Killed Libertarianism?

In a "word," yes. Sadly, thanks to them, along with Fox News, Shock-Talk Radio. and wing-nut Congressional Republicans who have promoted and embraced them, it's a seven-syllable polymorpheme best buried in a time-capsule of good intentions.

I dasn't use it in mixed company anymore (ptui!), even when prefixed with "left"--as in Left Libertarian, my house-brand blend of the two Thomases: Jefferson's ideas of PERSONAL freedom and pursuit of happiness mixed well with Paine's SOCIAL consciousness that looks out for the freedom and happiness of others. Two sides of the same Libertarian coin, I've always believed, one dependent upon the other.

But, noooooo ... these creatures masquerading as historic Tea Party patriots are society's sociopaths, if anything, pariahs who will roundly cheer as millions of unemployed Americans, for example, were written off once again last week by the self-serving Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats in Congress. This points up not only the extreme selfishness of these people toward their less-fortunate fellow-Americans, but also their incredible self-delusion--ironically to their own detriment For an overwhelming majority of economists on both left and right agree that the extension of unemployment benefits is best thing for the ailing economy right now. Unlike the "Bailouts" to basically middle-men of the Economy, unemployment money gets immediately back into the "free market" that the Tea Baggers purport to love so much.

Moreover, who in good conscience could want to be associated with political terminology that is, au courant, so thoroughly associated in the mind of the public, media-wise, with the likes of Tea Bag figurehead Sarah "The-Constitution-Is-Bible-Based" Palin; or KY primary-winner Rand "Dismantle-The-Civil-Rights-Act" Paul; or the highly-publicized, would-be Senator from AZ Sharron "No-Abortion-Even-For-Teenage-Incestuous-Rape-Victims" Angle? (The first and last baneful banshees fully answer the obvious question, "Does one need actual anatomical and sexually functioning BALLS to be a Tea Bagger?")

And I haven't even mentioned the pestiferous purveyors of Faux-News Tea-Bag/"Libertarian" propaganda like O'Reilly, Beck, Hannity, and Stossel. What right-minded (in the good way) person would want to be identified with these people? Or, heavens forfend, the odious Rush "Rant-Radio" Limbaugh, supporter and hero of every mother's Tea-Bagger son. They've ruined it for us all.

Pity, too ... because Libertarian ideals once offered such a nice alternative to the dysfunctional two-party monopoly of the Late-Sixties and Seventies. What was unique and defining in those days, and NOT shared by either/other political party in power, was the Libertarian position on TWO WARS--total opposition--going on at the time (and still going on): the Vietnam War and the War on Drugs. (Yeah, just replace Vietnam with Afghanistan--as if you didn't see that coming.) The former was destroying American lives overseas; the latter, here at home. Relevance right now, today? You betcha, gosh darn it--with apologies to you-know-who. (more)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

#227 Tea Baggers V--Sandbagging the Court

Eighty-percent of the Tea Baggers identify themselves as Republican; 100% of Republicans and 20% of Democrats in Congress (Southern Blue Dogs) are Republican; ergo: Socrates is a Tea Bagger.

That the Tea Bag "movement" (and you are free to assume cheap-shot connotations of the feculent kind in my use of that word) is an extension of the Republican Southern Strategy of racial hatred--especially as the 2010 elections start to heat up--we have only to look at the despicable attacks on the bete noir (literally) of school-desegregation, Thurgood Marshall, by way of his former law-clerk, Ellen Kagan.

The objections to this woman--it also doesn't hurt their bigoted cause that she's sexually "suspect," innuendo-wise--are shamelessly presented as "constitutional." She's linked to remarks that the late, great Supreme Court Justice and premier Civil Libertarian made about the founding document--that "as originally drafted and conceived" the Constitution was "defective." C'mon, of course it was. The Framers themselves knew that before the ink was dry on the original Articles. Result: the first ten amendments--the Bill of Rights--had to be solemnly promised before some of the States (like NC) would sign off on what might be called the "first draft" of the thing. More amendments would follow, including the 13th which abolished slavery, eliminating the major "defect" of the original, as everybody knows, and the one that Thurgood Marshall was talking about.

But it was upon the 14th that Thurgood rode to fame as a civil-rights lawyer for the NAACP. And Southern Strategists like the loathsome Jeff Sessions, Junior Senator from Alabama, who gave the Latina Sotomayer a racist going-over and once described the NAACP and other civil-rights groups as "un-American," doesn't want his Tea Bag constituents to forget that. As ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee (why is this former KKK sympathizer even allowed human congress, much less the halls of Congress?) he can do it, through Kagan. For under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment the good Justice Marshall had won Brown v. Board--the landmark Supreme Court (9-0) decision of 1954 desegregating public schools, a tipping point in American history that led to the Civil Rights Act (parts of which Tea Bagger Rand Paul would like to dismantle) ten years later, along with other anti-discrimination laws of recent times.

Local "color" sidebar: Thurgood's war is not yet won. Right here in Raleigh, Tea Bagger types from the suburbs and the predominantly white sections of town, supported by Americans for Prosperity and other radical-right-wing groups, helped take over the county school board (by a 5-4 margin) last year. The slim majority was able to vote out the decades-old "socio-economic diversity" (read: desegregation) policy that required some forced busing, and passed the euphemistic "neighborhood schools" (read: REsegregation) policy. The long-time, and beloved, Superintendent resigned in disgust. Protests began, sit-inners were arrested, NAACP and others filed a class-action suit. All this: ongoing and unresolved. Just like the good old days. Okay ... but obviously eternal vigilance on the part of right-thinking people is still required to preserve civil liberties for all our citizens. Especially when threatened by such strident and dangerous anti-social factions like the Tea Baggers.

And especially in deference to Independence Day just past, this writer GAGS (sorry) on their preferred moniker, Tea Partiers, as it represents a profound desecration of those brave and righteous acts of the freedom-fighters back in 1773 America. Good News, though. General approval of all that is Tea Bagging ... is flagging, so to speak. Always a minority, 39% of Americans (a drop, but still too high) view them favorably, while 50% of the population has an unfavorable view lately, according to a recent (post-Rand-Paul) WaPo/ABC poll (here). Even better news: there's now a strong disapproval rate among younger people. Only 27% of Americans 18-29 view the Tea Baggers favorably, while a healthy 60% don't. Things are beginning to look like--here's hoping--that they just might have to simply ... bag it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

#226 Tea Baggers IV--One Malicious Bag Full

As in "Baa, Baa, BLACK sheep, have you any wool?" that is. Yes, lots of wool-gathering going on, i.e., lots of paranoid daydreaming amongst these rabble about how they were cheated out of the Presidency by the Democrats with of all things a Negro--nay worse: Mulatto--at their head. Not only is Washington controlled now by a bunch of secular communists who'd mingle the races and muddle the genders on the Supreme Court, but worse, these folk are Blacks, Jews, Latins themselves. That's what the Tea Baggers are all about.

Meet Dale Robertson, founder of showing (along with his educational level) the organization's true "colors."

For when you take away their empty points of contention, the Tea Baggers true baggage is there to see. Out-and-out BIGOTRY. Nothing new, really. Just more violent and less covert (spitting, name-calling. signs like these or with monkey images) than the extension of the infamous Republican "Southern Strategy" to the McCain-Palin campaign of 2008 (see my DM #21, 45, 90). Now, not surprisingly, SHE'S at it again as the honorary (no, I didn't say titular, though tempted) pin-up girl of the Angry Old White Man movement.

(Maybe they're just Horny Old White Men at bottom, their angst generated by that primordial and subliminal FEAR of sexually-prowessed black men seducing lily-white virgins. Chief-of-State Obama has a beautiful African-American wife, but you never know when he'll stray outside the tribe and exercise his droight de seignior on some Caucasian wench. His father did it, after all.)

Bob Cesca has it just about right in his well-wrought HuffPost article on the Tea Bag Nation this March:

This isn't an epiphany by any stretch. From the beginning with their witch doctor imagery, watermelon agitprop and Curious George effigies, the wingnut right has been dying to blurt out, as Lee Atwater famously said, "nigger, nigger, nigger!"

The latter fellow being that karmically-deceased architect of the forever un-dead, race-baiting Southern Strategy of the Reagan-Helms-Bush-Rove-Bush-McCain campaigns. Cesca goes on to say that when you "boil away all of the weirdness"--

... all of the nonsense and contradictions, there's nothing left except race. There's no other way to explain why these people were silent and compliant for so long, and only decided to collectively freak out when this "foreign" and "exotic" president came along and, right out of the chute, passed THE LARGEST MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUT IN AMERICAN HISTORY--something they would otherwise support, for goodness sake, it was $288 billion in tax cuts!--we're left to deduce no other motive but the ugly one that lurks just beneath the pale flesh, the tri-corner hats and the dangly tea bag ornamentation. (full article here)

Tea Bagger and WINNER of the KY Republican primary for the US Senate Rand Paul has since put the proof to it with his faux-Libertarian ideas about, in essence, re-segregating lunch-counters everywhere. Doesn't he know that the term is one half of the phrase, Civil Libertarian? (more)