Friday, September 01, 2006

George Bush loses five middle east wars —three of them in Iraq!

Irag continues its slide into chaos though the MSM says Civil War is merely possible. In fact, Shi'ites and Sunnis are involved in a violent conflict for control of Central Iraq; Kurds are trying to secure the NW. What is that if not two, separate civil wars? Moreover, so-called "insurgents" —more properly described as "resistance" —oppose the failed US occupation. What is that if not a guerilla war? Clearly —US forces are in the crossfire of a Civil War, bogged down in a guerrilla resistance that it cannot win.
You know, I hear people say, well, civil war this, civil war that. The Iraqi people decided against civil war when they went to the ballot box.

George W. Bush, August 7, 2006

A majority of Americans reject Bush's latest strategy: linking Iraq with the "war on terrorism". [Source: PBS Washington Week] Both wars are failed; both are premised upon Bush misconceptions, his inability to " nuance", his deliberate lies.

Even the Pentagon's latest report is one of gloom and doom, a picture of a failed occupation. It was supposed to be a cake walk. Some cake. Some walk. We've been at war longer than World War II. Cheered then, we are jeered now! We have achieved nothing but pointless death and destruction. Even our allies hate us. Enemies grow stronger as American citizens are bled by the very government that promised to "liberate" —not annihilate —Iraq! Seeing how precariously perched is the dollar, I wonder: just who is the enemy? Pogo knew. He said: "We have seen the enemy and he is us!" Likewise, I have seen the enemy who wages war daily on both the Iraqi people and the American people. The enemy is Bush.

Billions of people the world over have wisely concluded that Bush is the enemy of peace and humankind, if Americans have not. Billions, whose news is not filtered by a US corporate MSM, have Bush's sorry record to cite in their support. Even in America, the tide has turned. By December 13, 2005, fifty-eight percent of Americans told CNN that Bush had no clear plan for victory in Iraq. Fifty-nine percent of Americans disapproved of Bush's handling of Iraq. It's only gotten worse since then.

So Bush declared a great "war on terrorism" but failed to think past some several months of hysterical war fever. How is such a war won? More recently, influenced by the right wing blogs, Bush's definition of success consists of Republi-babble about Islamo-Fascism. In earlier statements, his promises to "smoke out" Bin Laden and bring him to justice were no more connected to reality. Equally vague, Bush said he would treat nations harboring terrorists as if they were terrorists themselves. Bush would, seemingly, wage war on any nation funding terrorists; Bush would wage war on the world. But applying that principle would necessitate attacks on the United States itself, then Saudi Arabia, possibly Great Britain, and most certainly Israel. Bush has never been able to think clearly about terrorism or the US role.

States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.

—January 20, 2002, President George W. Bush, State of the Union Address

Just this week, Bush compared suicide bombers in Baghdad to terrorists who attacked the United States. Rumsfeld, meanwhile, was busy comparing Democrats to Nazi appeasers. The better analogy is Rumsfeld to Goebbels; both Bush and Rummie have used every dirty trick in the Hitler/Goebbel's playbook, impugning dissent and opposition.

With regard to the "insurgency" in Iraq, it's time to stop calling it insurgency —a rebellion against legitimate, lawful authority. It's time to start calling it what it is: a guerilla war against an illegal force of occupation, Bush's occupation, Bush's war of aggression, Bush's war crime, Bush's capital crime. The vocabulary of this war is unlike that of any other war including Viet Nam where even the Viet Cong were recognized guerilla fighters. Bush-speak deliberately conceals the true nature of this conflict. Even the word "war" is suspect. Our illegal occupation of what had been a sovereign nation cannot be legitimately called war. Better words are heist, mass murder, plunder, occupation. Not war!

What Bush called the Axis of Evil —like Poland and Czechoslovakia who were similarly demonized by the Nazi Hitler —never had WMD. What they do have in common with one another is poverty and "third world" status —not unlike that of six other nations similarly threatened and/or attacked by the big bully on the block. Those nations are Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Sudan and now Afghanistan and Iraq! It is Bush, rather, who threatens world peace; it is Bush who has failed on five fronts.

Bush might not have intended to define victory in Afghanistan but in his previously cited State of the Union Address he said:

In Afghanistan, we helped liberate an oppressed people. And we will continue helping them secure their country, rebuild their society, and educate all their children -- boys and girls.

—January 20, 2002, President George W. Bush, State of the Union Address

We have not liberated anyone. The people Bush claims to have liberated never asked Bush to liberate them. They do not feel liberated now —not that Bush has bothered to ask.

"Liberation", it turns out, is another ex post facto rationale for war! Afghanistan was supposed to be a quick and easy victory. Bush fell for the Rumsfeld doctrine and attacked Afghanistan on the cheap. Bush had really wanted to attack Iraq but because Colin Powell insisted, Bush was momentarily diverted. Cheney and Rumsfeld persisted. The better targets, they said, were in Iraq. Eventually, Bush —advised by the Cheney/Rumsfeld axis of arrogance —would attack where the terrorists weren't.

An August New York Times article entitled “Losing Afghanistan” summed up rising concerns about the alarming state of the US occupation of Afghanistan quite aside from Bushco's first obvious failure there: smoking out Bin Laden. NYT concluded: "...there is no victory in the war for Afghanistan, due in significant measure to the Bush administration’s reckless haste to move on to Iraq and shortsighted stinting on economic reconstruction”.

Some of the strong indicators of Bush's ignominious defeat in Afghanistan include the following developments:

  • There are now some 40,000 guerillas fighting against the American occupation of Afghanistan.
  • NATO forces in the southern provinces have met strong opposition resulting in fighting described as "...persistent, low-level dirty fighting" not seen by the British since the Korean War or World War II.
  • In Kandahar, some 2,300 Canadian troops have reported heavy casualties this month alone.
  • "Insurgents" —more properly called "resistance" to an aggressor — and the Taliban itself have benefited from outrage over "...routine searches, detention and killing[s]" of civilians.
Bush never bothered to define "victory" in Afghanistan apart from "smoking out" Bin Laden and "bringing him to justice". It is only fair, then, to judge the war by Bush's standard. After some five years, it is an utter failure. If judged by yet another standard, never articulated by Bush himself, that winning means establishing a stable occupation over all of Afghanistan, then, clearly, the occupation and the war has failed and failed utterly.

It gets harder daily to give Bush the benefit of any doubt. It's impossible not to conclude that Bush has taken the bait, that Bin Laden outsmarted Bush with a wily and nuanced strategy:

Bin Laden's only way to reduce American influence in the Middle East is to make the cost of dominating the region outweigh the benefit. ... If he can gain access to enough US assets on [Al Qaeda] controlled turf he's confident he can prick us to death. Bin Laden knows he will have one shot at an attack on American soil sufficient to lure the US into a decisive military move in the Middle East.

Bill Cusack: Osama Bin Laden is Kicking George Bush Ass

Bush's fifth lost war is, of course, his most recent: his war by proxy with Iran. Bush supported if not egged Olmert to attack Lebanon. According to the Jerusalem Post, Bush urged an Israeli attack on Syria with the intention, presumably, of drawing Syria and Iran into the conflict. It must have been a bitter pill for the bellicose Bush to have lost that war, to see the demonized Iran emerge strengthened and emboldened. It is no surprise to see Bush begin yet another offensive —a PR offensive designed, as always, to mislead the American people and the world. It is an act of desperation that can be heard in his voice. It is the last gasp of a failed President —the worst President in American history.

A video update. Watch how defensive and thin skinned Bush is about everything:

The Existentialist Cowboy

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bush plays politics with terrorism, resorts to McCarthyism and old lies

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

Bush's new PR offensive is a recycled old lie and thinly disguised McCarthyism. Bush will try to convince the American people that Iraq is a part of the war on terror and, opposing the war is un-American. Never mind that Bush's war on terror is not only phony, it makes real terrorism worse and endangers American lives. What will happen when we get a real terrorist threat? Merely asking makes you a "Nazi appeaser". Bush and Rumsfeld breathe new life in odious McCarthyism. This cynical exploitation of fear does not makes us safer. It endangers us all.

Secondly, even Bush admitted —after having lied it about it for years —that Saddam had nothing to do with 911. So which is it? It's unclear how Bush intends to convince people that Iraq now has anything to do with terrorism when only a few days ago he told the truth at last by denying it. So —when Bush now says that Iraq is a part of the war on terrorism, Americans should ask themselves: was Bush lying then or is he lying now?
Clearly —the oft called "insurgents" had nothing to insurge against before the US invasion. Is this what Bush hopes you will believe are terrorists? If so, then Bush's failed US policy has caused it. It will simply dissipate when Bush admits that he has committed capital crimes and removes US troops from the war of aggression that he ordered in violation of Geneva, the UN resolution, Nuremberg Principles and US Codes, Title 18 § 2441. War crimes. Read Title 18. It's a capital crime.
And Bush has already lied about his new "PR offensive". He claims that it is not politically motivated.

But surely it is a response to the fact that the latest British terror alert did nothing to restore American confidence in Bush's utterly failed administration. Americans seem immune now to color codes, MSM hyperbole about improbable "binary bombs", and empty rhetoric about terrorism.
Bush now finds it impossible to tell the truth without confessing to a multitude of previous falsehoods. None of his various pretexts for war were true; all of them have been proven false during a long and miserably failed American occupation of a country that had nothing to do with 911, a sovereign nation that never attacked, never posed a threat to the people of the United States in any way.

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, meanwhile, is among a growing chorus that sees the "war on terrorism" for what it is: a boogeyman exploited by a cynical, extremist administration that now dares to slap the label "Nazi appeaser" on legitimate dissent and criticism.

Olbermann has said what millions have already known: Bush is "playing politics" with terrorism", exploiting terrorism for political purposes and endangering American lives by doing so. Olbermann, at last, openly questions and documents the curious and statistically questionable timing of a series of phony terror alerts:

SLC Mayor: BuPresidensh Is The Worst t In History

(KUTV) Video: Mayor Anderson blasts President Bush

 Sky2 Video: Protesters march thru the streets of SLC

 Slideshow: Pres. Bush's Visit To SLC

During a large-scale protest in downtown Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Mayor Rocky Anderson unleashed perhaps his harshest criticisms yet of President George W. Bush -- just hours before the president was scheduled to arrive in Utah.

"Iraq had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on the United States... and there was no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," Anderson said from the steps of the Salt Lake City & County building.

Mayor Anderson also said that President Bush will go down in history as the worst president in U.S. history and called Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "incompetent." ...

Study calls Iran 'biggest beneficiary' of US war on terror

Another analysis blames weak US approach to Iran on poor intelligence.
Two new reports criticize the US's handling of Iran, just as the West gauges Iran's response to a proposal meant to rein in Tehran's nuclear ambitions. One report says the US war on terror has strengthened Tehran, the other slams America's poor intelligence on Iran.
The first report, released Wednesday by the non-government Royal Institute of International Affairs (also known as Chatham House) in Britain, says that Iran, despite being a part of US President Bush's "axis of evil," has been the "chief beneficiary of the war on terror in the Middle East."
The United States, with Coalition support, has eliminated two of Iran's regional rival governments — the Taliban in Afghanistan in November 2001 and Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq in April 2003 — but has failed to replace either with coherent and stable political structures. The outbreak of conflict on two fronts in June –July 2006 between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, and Israel and Hizbullah in Lebanon has added to the regional dimensions of this instability.
Consequently, Iran has moved to fill the regional void with an apparent ease that has disturbed both regional players and the United States and its European allies. Iran is one of the most significant and powerful states in the region and its influence spreads well beyond its critical location at the nexus of the Middle East, Turkey, the Caucasus, Central Asia and South Asia.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Catastrophic and Reckless: How Bush brought America to the brink of economic ruin!

Just a year ago Bush played guitar while New Orleans drowned. Nothing has been learned. Nothing has changed. New Orleans is morbidly fascinating because Americans, intuitively, have seen in that disaster our nation's future. But Bush, like a fiddling Nero, stays a failed course amid warnings that our nation is falling apart at the seams heading for third world status and catastrophe.

The warnings come amid the valid assessment that Bush's tax cut for the rich failed to make good on two empty promises: it did not trickle down or prime the economic pump and it did not pay for itself as Bush himself had promised it would. In fact, the poor have gotten poorer, the rich exceedingly rich. The nation is bankrupt to boot. The dollar is allowed to slide and we are dependent upon China, Japan, and the EU to keep the anemic dollar propped up. Were it not for that we would have no purchasing power at all.

Ronald Reagan made the same promises in 1982 —but, according to the US Census Bureau, only the upper quintile prospered. Every other income group lost ground even as Reagan's deficit grew exponentially. Unfortunately, Bush is still being assessed. But just one year after Congress bowed to Bush and passed the tax cut of 2001, the Brookings Institution would write:

The official federal budget outlook has deteriorated dramatically since early 2001, due to last year's tax cut, the economic slowdown, and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. In addition to the pressures from the long-anticipated increase in entitlement spending as the nation ages, the government now also faces growing spending needs for defense and homeland security. These trends imply that future taxes must rise, future spending outside of defense and the elderly must decline, or obligations to the elderly and to defense be reduced.

—Alan Auerbach, William G. Gale, and Peter R. Orszag
June 2002, The Budget Outlook: Options for Restoring Fiscal Discipline, Brooking Institution

But GOP supply side, trickle down economics also promises more opportunity, a growing economy, more jobs.
Some in Washington say we had to choose between cutting taxes and cutting the deficit….Today’s numbers show it to be a false choice. The economic growth fueled by tax relief has helped send our tax revenues soaring. That’s what has happened.

—George W. Bush

But that's not what happened. Wealth has never trickled down and there is no "higher pie". A Treasury Department analysis refuted Bush directly, confirming in its analysis what many experts and Bush critics had been saying all along: tax cuts do not come remotely close to paying for themselves. [PDF] . In other words, the two promises of "trickle down" theory are dead wrong: wealth does not trickle down and tax revenues do not increase to make up the short fall.

As Dizzy Dean said: it's deja vu all over again! Why does the GOP insist upon repeating failed strategies. Reaganites promised that the stimulated economy would outgrow the deficit and the budget would be balanced "...within three years, maybe even two." It didn't! Reagan tripled the deficit and, on the way, he doubled the size of the federal bureaucracy. Reagan's tax cuts were followed promptly by the longest and worst recession since Herbert Hoover's Great Depression. As Robert Freeman correctly points out: "...Jimmy Carter's last budget deficit was $77 billion. Reagan's first deficit was $128 billion. His second deficit exploded to $208 billion. By the time the "Reagan Revolution" was over, George H.W. Bush was running an annual deficit of $290 billion per year."

How will Bush compare to Reagan? By the year 2002, Citizens for Tax Justice were already writing:

Over the ten-year period, the richest Americans—the best-off one percent—are slated togwb0602a.gif - 10559 Bytes receive tax cuts totaling almost half a trillion dollars. The $477 billion in tax breaks the Bush administration has targeted to this elite group will average $342,000 each over the decade.

By 2010, when (and if) the Bush tax reductions are fully in place, an astonishing 52 percent of the total tax cuts will go to the richest one percent—whose average 2010 income will be $1.5 million. Their tax-cut windfall in that year alone will average $85,000 each. Put another way, of the estimated $234 billion in tax cuts scheduled for the year 2010, $121 billion will go just 1.4 million taxpayers.

Although the rich have already received a hefty down payment on their Bush tax cuts—averaging just under $12,000 each this year—80 percent of their windfall is scheduled to come from tax changes that won’t take effect until after this year, mostly from items that phase in after 2005.

1968 was the year in which measured postwar income was at its most equal for families. The Gini index for households indicates that there has been growing income inequality over the past quarter-century. Inequality grew slowly in the 1970's and rapidly during the early 1980's. ...

Generally, the long-term trend has been toward increasing income inequality. Since 1969, the share of aggregate household income controlled by the lowest income quintile has decreased from 4.1 percent to 3.6 percent in 1997, while the share to the highest quintile increased from 43.0 percent to 49.4 percent. Most noticeably, the share of income controlled by the top 5 percent of households has increased from 16.6 percent to 21.7 percent. Over the same time period, the Gini index rose 17.4 percent to its 1997 level of .459.

Income Inequality, Census Bureau

The trend began then has continued: October 2003 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau make stark reading:
Median household incomes are falling The number of Americans without health insurance rose by 5.7 percent to 43.6 million individuals.

The number of people living below the poverty line ($18,392 for a family of four) climbed to 12.1 percent — 34.6 million people.

Wages make up the majority of income for most American families. As "Downward Mobility," NOW's report on workers and wages illustrates, many American workers are facing corporate efforts to cut pay and benefits, which could lead to more American families struggling to stay out of poverty.

The results in black and white:
  • Twenty percent of the population owns 84% of our private assets, leaving the other 80 percent of the population with 15.6 percent of the assets.
  • In 1960, the wealth gap between the top 20 percent and the bottom 20 percent of Americans was thirty fold. Four decades later it’s more than seventy-five-fold.
  • Either way -- wealth or income – America is more unequal, economists generally agree, than at any time since the start of the Great Depression…
  • And more unequal than any other developed nation today.
Why are failed strategies repeated? The GOP prescription seems to be: just take another dose of whatever it is that's making you sick.

Unfortunately, there is an entire caste of people who leech off the labors of others. They dare to call it "free enterprise". GOP policies have built our economy around our chief export: death and destruction. It is served up by our biggest industry, the biggest single slice in our budget pie chart —the military! Tax cuts, meanwhile, favored a tiny elite even as purchasing power of the ever poorer American working class depends upon the good graces of China. One is tempted to believe that what normal people perceive as Bush incompetence is, in fact, a deliberate and cynical GOP policy. Bush may have given the game away when he addressed a meeting of the "upper one percent" of the population —the primary beneficiaries of his tax cut. Predictably, he smirked and called them his "base".

Some updates with the very latest Census Bureau info:

Data show one in eight Americans in poverty

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In the world's biggest economy, one in eight Americans and almost one in four blacks lived in poverty last year, the U.S.
Census Bureau said on Tuesday, both ratios virtually unchanged from 2004.

The survey also showed 15.9 percent of the population, or 46.6 million, had no health insurance, up from 15.6 percent in 2004 and an increase for a fifth consecutive year, even as the economy grew at a 3.2 percent clip. ...

The last time poverty declined was in 2000, the final year of Bill Clinton's presidency, when it fell to 11.3 percent.

The stagnant poverty picture drew attention from Democrats and others who said not enough is being done to help the nation's poor.

"Far too many American families who work hard and play by the rules still wind up living in poverty," said Rep. George Miller (news, bio, voting record) of California, the top Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Around a quarter of blacks and 21.8 percent of Hispanics were living in poverty. Among whites, the rate edged down to
8.3 percent from 8.7 percent in 2004.

"Among African Americans the problem correlates primarily to the inner-city and single mothers," said Michael Tanner of CATO Institute, a free-market think tank in Washington. He noted that blacks also suffer disproportionately from poor
education and lower quality jobs.

Black median income, at $30,858, was only 61 percent of the median for whites. ...

The Bush Record: More Poverty, More Uninsured

Bush says “the foundation of our economy is solid, and it’s strong.” That’s true, for some: corporate profits have now climbed to their highest share of GDP since the 1960’s.

But new Census Bureau data show the real state of the current economy. The Bush record on combating poverty and insuring more Americans is an undisputed failure.
Poverty, All Races (Millions)

Number of Uninsured (Millions)

More on the new census data HERE.

A great update courtesy Mark:

Devaluing Labor

By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, August 30, 2006; Page A19

That America is as dead as the dodo. Ours is the age of the Great Upward Redistribution. The median hourly wage for Americans has declined by 2 percent since 2003, though productivity has been rising handsomely. Last year, according to figures released just yesterday by the Census Bureau, wages for men declined by 1.8 percent and for women by 1.3 percent.

As a remarkable story by Steven Greenhouse and David Leonhardt in Monday's New York Times makes abundantly clear, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of gross domestic product since 1947, when the government began measuring such things. Corporate profits, by contrast, have risen to their highest share of the GDP since the mid-'60s -- a gain that has come chiefly at the expense of American workers.

Don't take my word for it. According to a report by Goldman Sachs economists, "the most important contributor to higher profit margins over the past five years has been a decline in labor's share of national income."

As the Times story notes, the share of GDP going to profits is also at near-record highs in Western Europe and Japan.

Clearly, globalization has weakened the power of workers and begun to erode the egalitarian policies of the New Deal and social democracy that characterized the advanced industrial world in the second half of the 20th century.

For those who profit from this redistribution, there's something comforting in being able to attribute this shift to the vast, impersonal forces of globalization. The stagnant incomes of most Americans can be depicted as the inevitable outcome of events over which we have no control, like the shifting of tectonic plates.

Problem is, the declining power of the American workforce antedates the integration of China and India into the global labor pool by several decades. Since 1973 productivity gains have outpaced median family income by 3 to 1. Clearly, the war of American employers on unions, which began around that time, is also substantially responsible for the decoupling of increased corporate revenue from employees' paychecks.

Washington Post

Here's a breaking story somewhat off topic, but timely, indeed:

Bashir: CIA used 'micro nuclear' bomb in Bali

Indonesian Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir claims America's top spy agency was involved in the devastating 2002 Bali bombings.

Bashir, who was convicted and imprisoned for having prior knowledge of the attacks which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, is also appealing for the lives of three convicted bombers to be spared.

Bashir, the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), was released from prison in June after serving nearly two years.

Amrozi, Ali Ghufron - also known as Mukhlas - and Imam Samudra are awaiting execution for their part in the plot.

In an interview tonight on ABC television's Foreign Correspondent, Bashir claims the device that killed most people in the Bali attack was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) "micro-nuclear" bomb. ...

The Existentialist Cowboy