Monthly Archives: September 2006

Tyranny

Yup, there it is. Bush is the tyrant King, and congress wants to enable him.

Let’s hope the Supreme Court has the good sense to save us from us tyranny.

Unclaimed Territory – by Glenn Greenwald

There really is no other way to put it. Issues of torture to the side (a grotesque qualification, I know), we are legalizing tyranny in the United States. Period. Primary responsibility for this fact lies with the authoritarian Bush administration and its sickeningly submissive loyalists in Congress. That is true enough. But there is no point in trying to obscure that fact that it’s happening with the cowardly collusion of the Senate Democratic leadership, which quite likely could have stopped this travesty via filibuster if it chose to (it certainly could have tried).

And this point is important too. People aren’t even UPSET by this blatant display of tyranny!

There is a profound and fundamental difference between an Executive engaging in shadowy acts of lawlessness and abuses of power on the one hand, and, on the other, having the American people, through their Congress, endorse, embrace and legalize that behavior out in the open, with barely a peep of real protest. Our laws reflect our values and beliefs. And our laws are about to explicitly codify one of the most dangerous and defining powers of tyranny — one of the very powers this country was founded in order to prevent.

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” — Plato

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” — C.S. Lewis

“The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men.” — -Samuel Adams

“Tyrants have always some slight shade of virtue; they support the laws before destroying them” — Voltaire

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy” — James Madison

“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” — James Madison

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience” — Albert Camus

“There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.” — Charles de Montesquieu

“A great wave of oppressive tyranny isn’t going to strike, but rather a slow seepage of oppressive laws and regulations from within will sink the American dream of liberty” — George Baumler

“The offspring of riches: Pride, vanity, ostentation, arrogance, tyranny”
— Mark Twain (does this sum up Dubya or what?)

“There are historic situations in which refusal to defend the inheritance of a civilization, however imperfect, against tyranny and aggression may result in consequences even worse than war” — Reinhold Niebuhr

“Necessity, the tyrant’s plea” — John Milton

“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” — Thomas Jefferson.

The 'Moderate Republican' Scam

Yup, there it is. Republicans – the party of extremists. All of ’em. Torture and war mongers, the people who REALLY hate our freedoms – so they try to take them all away, one at a time.

Terrorists can only take our lives – it takes Republicans to take our liberty and freedom away.

Harold Meyerson – The ‘Moderate Republican’ Scam – washingtonpost.com

The House and Senate vote to ban flag-burning and gay marriage but never quite find the time to slow the rising costs of health care or raise the minimum wage or mandate fuel efficiency standards lest the polar ice cap melt. Chafee, Snowe and DeWine readily admit that a melted polar ice cap would be troublesome; they will fight it tooth and nail. But come time to vote for majority leader, they always vote for a leader of a party in thrall to big oil.

Problem is, Chafee and his moderate band are an ever weaker force in a party whose very essence is extreme, whose electoral strategy is solely to mobilize its base, whose legislative strategy is never to seek votes across party lines. And unless these moderates boldly go where they have not gone before and cast their vote for majority leader (and I don’t mean in caucus, I mean on the Senate floor) for someone other than the nominee of their party caucus, they are not moderates at all. They are loyal and indispensable foot soldiers in the Republicans’ continuing campaign to drag the nation rightward and backward.

And guess what. The moderates will vote for the extremist. “Moderate,” after all, is only an adjective; “Republican” is a noun. Chafee, Snowe, the whole lot of them, are moderate enablers of an extremist party. That leaves those voters in Rhode Island, Maine, Ohio and other states where these self-proclaimed Republican moderates are running only one choice if they seek a Congress to check and balance the president, if they want a more moderate nation: Vote for the Democrat.

Blogthings – What Kind of Soul Are You?

Blogthings – What Kind of Soul Are You?

Prophet Soul

You are a gentle soul, with good intentions toward everyone.
Selfless and kind, you have great faith in people.
Sometimes this faith can lead to disappoinment in the long run.
No matter what, you deal with everything in a calm and balanced way.

You are a good interpreter, very sensitive, intuitive, caring, and gentle.
Concerned about the world, you are good at predicting people’s feelings.
A seeker of wisdom, you are a life long learner looking for purpose and meaning.
You are a great thinker and communicator, but not necessarily a doer.

Souls you are most compatible with: Bright Star Soul and Dreaming Soul

But I guess Condi would say it's "not a plan"….

A High Price for Slightly Less Iraqi Chaos… or a Way Out: Richard A. Clarke | Good Harbor Report

A High Price for Slightly Less Iraqi Chaos… or a Way Out: Richard A. Clarke

Just as Rumsfeld refused to allow the military to call the fighting in Iraq an “insurgency,” so the White House is rejecting the use of “civil war” to describe the Shia-Sunni slaughter that has been taking fifty dead a day. Administration officials also argue that “premature” U.S. withdrawal will result in a civil war. The implication is that we need to keep U.S. combats units in Iraq to prevent a higher level of chaos. Our staying with U.S. combat troops for a few more years, they argue, will allow the Iraqis to improve their security forces and that, in turn, means the chaos will be less when we leave (whenever that is) than it would be if we left next year.

Put aside that some of the Iraqis we are training are the very same Iraqi security forces that appeared to be behind much of the kidnapping, torture, and killing, what the “stay the course” agreement comes down to is this:

– there is a high level of “sectarian strife” now
– if we withdraw U.S. combat forces in 2007 the “strife” will escalate further
– but if we stay on to, say 2009, the chaos ensuing upon the departure of U.S. combat units will be less than it would have been in 2007
– and that difference in levels of chaos post-U.S. combat unit withdrawal is worth the cost.

That difference in levels of chaos is hard to quantify. It may even be nonexistent, but we can estimate the cost of staying the additional two years:

– approximately 1000 more U.S. dead
– approximately 5000 more U.S, casualties, many involving loss of limbs or eyes
– approximately $150,000,000.0000.00 in US expenditure
– a continued stimulus for recruitment of terrorists as outlined in the recent U.S. National Intelligence Estimate.

Is that possible difference in chaos post-U.S. combat unit withdrawal in 2009 rather than next year worth that price?

What if, instead of “staying the course” and incurring those costs, we focused on our national interests: defeating al Qaeda and related terrorist groups, containing Iranian threats, strengthening global support for America, and reinvigorating our battered Army and Marines? How do we do that? I suggest the following seven-point plan as a starting place for discussion:

–declare immediately that the US seeks no permanent military bases in Iraq, thereby quelling fears of moderate Iraqis who see the construction on-going of four mega-bases in the country and believe the insurgents ma be right about our intentions;

–announce our intention to continue to turn over more responsibility to the Iraqi Army on a schedule that will reduce US forces in Iraq from 140,000 beginning in December and concluding with the withdrawal of all major ground combat units approximately 18 months later;

–gain agreement from Kuwait to the stationing of US combat units there for the next five years, extending the basing agreement reached in 1991, for the purposes of stabilizing the region including quick reaction intervention in Iraq if required to protect Americans or to attack terrorists. This would create an “over the horizon” capability to deal with Iraq after the US combat units are redeployed;

–accelerate training for the Iraqi security forces and specify that we will continue that training indefinitely;

–working with regional allies, create an enhanced covert action and para-military capability run by CIA to deal with terrorists in Iraq;

–speed up delivery of reconstruction assistance and target delivery of services and job creation, declaring a ten-year commitment to continue the rebuilding process;

–convene a regional process to guarantee the stability of Iraq and invite Iran, Syria, Jordan, Turkey and the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) countries.

Implementing such a plan would not give Iraq over to al Qaeda, but it would reduce the US hemorrhaging there. With that done, we could begin to readdress winning the strategic Battle of Ideas against Islamic terrorist groups. As long as we are fighting in Iraq, we cannot effectively engage in the Battle of Ideas, which the 9-11 Commission said is the only way of ultimately drying up support for al Qaeda.

Condi-lies-a

Ms. Rice, you are a damned liar.

The Raw Story | 2001 memo to Rice contradicts statements about Clinton, Pakistan

A memo received by United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice shortly after becoming National Security Advisor in 2001 directly contradicts statements she made to reporters yesterday, RAW STORY has learned.

“We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda,” Rice told a reporter for the New York Post on Monday. “Big pieces were missing,” Rice added, “like an approach to Pakistan that might work, because without Pakistan you weren’t going to get Afghanistan.”

Rice made the comments in response to claims made Sunday by former President Bill Clinton, who argued that his administration had done more than the current one to address the al Qaeda problem before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. She stopped short of calling the former president a liar.

However, RAW STORY has found that just five days after President George W. Bush was sworn into office, a memo from counter-terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke to Rice included the 2000 document, “Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Jihadist Networks of al-Qida: Status and Prospects.” This document devotes over 2 of its 13 pages of material to specifically addressing strategies for securing Pakistan’s cooperation in airstrikes against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Tao Politics

Due to my frustration at not having my blog available today, I’ve created a new blogspot blog today, Tao Politics. First post is cross-posted here as well:

Political Change and the Tao Te Ching

This blog will discuss political change in light of the Tao Te Ching. If you want to look at other postings I’ve done on the Tao, politics, and many other subjects, my usual blog is at Changing Places.

I’ve started this blog today for several reasons. First, to discuss politics in the light of the Tao Te Ching, the way things work. I don’t believe political change in America today is possible unless we actually understand and use methods that work. The Tao is often taken as “Eastern” philosophy, but it is not. It is simply a description of how things work, a compilation of wise writings by one or perhaps many writers, it is not really known. It is attributed to Lao Tsu, but no one knows if such a person ever actually existed or not. This doesn’t matter, just as it doesn’t matter who I am, really, or where I’m from. What matters is what I say and do, and if those things fit with the Tao, they will be effective and work, and if not, the things I say and do will disappear in time and not matter.

The other reason is frustration with something not working, namely my regular blog. I don’t like it when things don’t work; it makes me search for other ways to make things happen. This is as it should be. Tao often comments on water, saying we ought to flow as water flows. As I write this, water is flowing behind me, into a carboy as my husband prepares to make beer today. Water is very useful, and very important. It is the most important thing on earth, as we will begin to find out in just a few brief years now. Water will become the biggest political issue on the planet, overtaking the importance of oil. Seems hard to believe, but it will happen.

For now though, politics is about oil. It is the number one reason for the current political orientation and effects in the world. This is because politics is always about resources, and the most important resource, after water, is energy. Energy is needed to produce food. With land, water and energy, anything is possible. Empires are fought for, created, built and destroyed over these three things for the most part. The land may contain resources, be used to produce food, or simply be living space. The water is essential to life itself. The energy is needed to create anything else from the available resources on the land.

I won’t just have my own thought here; I’ll often include or link to those of others. This is important because I am a collector and distributor of information and ideas far more than a creator of them. My own words and actions usually pale compared to those of others, but my skills at integration are quite good. But, I’m a selfish person, so those ideas are not always shared as well as they could be, or distributed as widely as they could be. The internet lets me get them out there where perhaps, in this vast mish mash of ideas, people, and the wonders of search engines, they can be found and used.

If not, that’s fine as well. The Tao has been around for thousands of years, and is usually ignored. But it still works, whether you know it or not.

The Tao says those who know, do not say. This is often misunderstood to mean that words are not important, or are wrong. The reality is words are important, but what is said is never the reality. Tao is the reality. That is the point of the expression. Knowing reality, knowing Tao, is more important than whatever is said. People are easily manipulated by words, but those words may or may not be true. Tao is always true. And false. Full, and empty. It contains all dualities, because it contains everything. And nothing.

If you do not understand, keep reading. If you do understand, my words are not needed.