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19 March 2008

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lina

"The Democrats need to sober up." PL

They're in the middle of a bar room brawl while the town is burning to the ground all around them.

It's unfortunate when the people who are supposed to save the day are too busy being drunk and disorderly. Bad luck indeed.

William R. Cumming

This is an extremely interesting post. First, Bush is betting in the long run US interests support his Presidential decisions. Only time can tell that but it precludes any flexibility at this point. It is clear that both Clinton and Obama are trying to adopt and educate Americans on policies at the same time in a relatively sophisticated tradeoff between NOW and the future. Bush does NOT worry about the future. Remarkable thing about his term of office is how effectively dissent and second opinions or alternative policies prohibited from being discussed. Clearly he is bothered by the abstract canvas that his decisions and events have painted for him. Lost in all this is the fact that Bush is still making decisions that will impact the US and especially the military for years. I think the final corruption of the military has occurred during the last 25 years from the historic patronization, ignorance, mistratment, lack of sophistication about the military in a democracy revealed by Presidents from Reagan to George W. Bush. The military is an important skill set because there are still tigers out there in the world. Samuel Huntington's book "The Soldier and the State" yields important insights for our democracy. I don't agree with all his theses, including the one that the last knowledgeable defender of our democracy is the military. Yet I understand his argument. One final point, it does appear looking back to 9/11 that the attack had very very important economic impacts on the domestic US economy, still largely undocumented for a variety of reasons, including possibly the possible loss of economic dominance of NYC as the world's trading and financial center and other impacts such as those on the dollar. The GWOT has added to the strain. It is now clear that the slicky boys (and girls) of WALL STREET had no long term abilities to do other than develop techniques of fraud, waste, and abuse. The off-book deals from Enron to the Banks is just one of the examples. I personally like John McCain, read his books, know some of his classmates USNA -1958), and think he has developed as a wonderful addition to the Senate. But I also remember how close he came to personal destruction as one of the Keating Five in the S&L scandal that cost the public fisc closer to $500B than the announced figures. Ethics does matter. I also worry about these issues with Clinton and Obama. Who will they owe and who will they bring in. Again only time will tell, but it does seem to be a turning point in American history. Perhaps as another said Not the Beginning of the End but certainly the END of the Beginning when the US seemed to be REAGAN's shining city of light on a hill for what now appears to be a very brief time and largely based on luck not necessarily skill. The world cannot operate successfully without a capable, competent, economically strong US but it is going to take some time to rebuild if it is to happen. Time for hard decisions. First, who has the skills to make them, and then who has the skills to see them through to completion.

WP

"Is he really impaired somehow or is it about the money as the "oilies" insist?"

It is about oil and Bush & Co have been stunningly successful.

The issue is not about "getting" Iraqi oil, it is about suppressing production of cheap-to-produce Iraqi and Iranian oil off of the market.

In any short-term period the world has the ability to produce such a gush of oil that the price would collapse. If the price collapses enough, it becomes un-economic to produce from domestic American oil reserves. The oil companies represented by Bush-Cheney-Saudi committee hold reserves that are increasingly expensive to lift from the earth. For example, Gulf of Mexico oil is very expensive to recover under thousands of feed of water and seabed.

Saudi oil is past peak and probably is also uncompetitive with Iranian and Iraqi oil.

On the other hand, Iraqi and Iranian oil is abundant and very cheap to lift out of the ground.

The goal of the Iraqi occupation and the stirrings against Iran is to increase risk against pumping their oil and keeping it off of the market until the more expensive American-Saudi oil can be sold. If those countries really started producing, the price of oil would drop precipitously.

Of course there is the possibility that they Bush-Cheney-Saudi committee will be able ultimately to get control of the oil in the occupied zones. Also, there has been an added bonus of huge profits from supplying the war, itself.

All of this has been accomplished by printing and borrowing money, much of which has gone directly into the pockets of Bush's supporters and at the great expense of the American people. Their gambit has backfired on the American people while the beneficiaries of the group continue to be able to extract a private "oil tax" on the people.

As a side benefit, the period of false fear has enabled the creation of an enhanced surveilence-incipient police state that supports the Bush-Cheney-Saudi committee.

It is all about oil and the scheme has been stunningly successful for the intended beneficiaries. If you are an oiler, George Bush's administration has been the most successful administration for your benefit, ever!

Dick Cheney, "Mission Accomplished!"

Leila Abu-Saba

I'm glad you're giving Obama some credit for brains and a plan. I agree that they are both good candidates and maybe should share a ticket if egos can handle it.

(Can't help remembering the Jon Stewart crack that in the movies when the President is a black man or a white woman, that means the aliens are about to blow up the Statue of Liberty. If they're on a ticket together, what fresh Apocalypse could this portend? kidding...)

Here's the transcript of Obama's Iraq speech, reprinted at Daily Kos:

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/3/19/114032/682/108/479934

Leila Abu-Saba

Maybe some Democrats are being drunk and disorderly - mostly anonymous faceless yammerers on weblogs.

You cannot accuse Barack Obama of behaving in a disorderly manner. He keeps his cool.

To say that Sen. Clinton's behavior is "drunk and disorderly" is also an exaggeration and not fair. I haven't liked her tone particularly, and I haven't liked the choices of her campaign in trying to fight hard, but drunk and disorderly are words that just heighten the sense of disunity. I am not a Clinton supporter but I prefer not to throw such language in her direction. She deserves better.

The disorderly squalling supporters ought to be ignored. It is in the nature of human beings to pick sides and fight; however as a Democrat I prefer to think about November and not get bogged down in this silliness. It reminds me of flame wars amongst online newcomers to neighborhood or hobby-related email groups. Pick, pick, bitch, bitch, resent, resent, accuse, rinse and repeat.

JohnH

The chief qualification for high political office today is the ability to live a lie and keep up appearances for the public. False pretenses are needed to allow the energy/security industries (and others) to pursue their hidden agenda, doing their dirty work unimpeded by inconvenient questions about the American government's real goals and intentions.

As a former drunk, Bush excels at living a lie. Given the current state of affairs, we can look forward to more drunks in the White House.

W. Patrick Lang

Leila

I was not referring to either candidate. pl

Leila Abu-Saba

I should have paid more attention - Lina used the term "drunk and disorderly," not Col. Lang.

Curious

One great things about extended primary battles, it really shows candidate characters. How each made long term decision and handle it when it didn't pan out.

The biggest concern about current primary battle is of course "legal lawsuit" when Hillary uses backroom maneuvering to gain superdelegates to overide pledge one. That would be so damaging, McCain will win for sure. So far tho' the system seems to hold. (this is definitely testing party unity)

about McCAin: biggest worry is Rove + NSA spying (advantage of ruling regime)

lobbyists and Israel seems to only playing on the background.

Montag

Too late! The American people are already walking away from "Iron Mike." NBC's Richard Engle reports from Iraq that the U.S. soldiers he's talked to feel that only their families know or care that they're there. "The Surge" has worked its magic by bringing about Orwell's dictum, "War Is Peace."

Wasn't it Clemenceau--the WWI French Premier who reportedly had himself buried facing Germany--who said, "War is too important to be left to Generals?" For Bush a burial facing Arlington National Cemetery would seem more appropriate. Cheney of course knows all about "the white crosses row on row" at Arlington. Ah Clemenceau! What a meal you would have made of such pygmies--they did not call you "The Tiger" for nothing.

Cieran

Bush has no clue what's coming at him, and his certainty is the bliss of ignorance, no more, no less. The economic wolves are at the door, and the American citizenry is about to learn more than it cares to know about the principle of "opportunity cost", better known as "guns or butter". This learning process will not be pretty.

We will soon find that we have fewer choices for our collective future than we have been led to believe by our so-called "leaders", and as the unfortunate ramifications of our remaining choices become clearer, watch the electorate get angrier. This is not a good year to be a Republican, and things will get a lot worse for the GOP before November's elections, as the "Main Street vs. Wall Street" fiasco continues to grow more visible.

We simply cannot afford our empire any longer, and nothing the Bush administration can do will change that immutable fact. America is now facing a global margin call, and with its imminent economic demise will come some form of international receivership, with other countries making demands on how we carry out all of our affairs, as part of the bailout bargain we have already seen developing on Wall Street.

It's certain that those demands will include constraints on the use of U.S. military resources, and especially in the Middle East. We simply are not helping the world economic order by our presence there, regardless of what Bush believes.

In short, we will soon stop taking our military marching orders from Israel, and will likely start getting economic marching orders from China and Dubai instead. The American people are not going to like this outcome one bit, and the pain will have "GOP" stamped all over it. The Republican party may need a name change, and soon.

And as we learn just how much national treasure we wasted on corruption at the highest levels of the Bush/Cheney DoD, while our soldier-citizens scrounged for food stamps at home and for scraps of armor abroad, the best investments financial speculators can make will be in those industries that manufacture pitchforks and torches.

We in the opening acts of what will likely be a long and painful process, and there is nothing that Bush or Cheney can do to stop the long slide into relative national irrelevancy. Argentina, here we come... and GOP, there you go!

alnval

Col. Lang:

Thank you for your post. I appreciate your willingness to lay out your point of view with clarity and common sense.

Cummings is right. For whatever reasons, we are at a turning point.

For too long, as Obama has put it, we have allowed ourselves to be 'distracted' from the real issues at hand and we will continue to do so until enough of us remember that for Americans it has always been better to speak one's mind than to hide behind the curtain of political correctness.

The ostensible newspaper of record, and the other media outlets now captured by corporate, bottom line thinking are so preoccupied with fairness that they avoid common sense at all costs.

Paine precipitated our Revolution. He didn't create the conditions that brought it about.

The conditions necessary for revolt are again with us. The country is ripe for it. Obama may inherit Paine's mantle if he continues to speak out.

As the poet said, we should be raging at the dying of the light and not going gentle into that good night. We are better than that.

lina

Leila, it was said in jest. Lighten up. This contest is going all the way through June. We've got to keep a sense of humor or we'll end up as crazy as Dick Cheney.

Jose

Col. and everyone in this blog,

1. What constitute victory for Dumbya? As far as I can tell, nobody knows so please enlighten me if anybody knows.

2. Hillary's attacks are only making Obama stronger in the long run. His dirty laundry is coming out now where he can think about how to answer them. So far he has done well in some, not so well in others but better in Spring than in Fall.

3. There will be no joint ticket, this has gotten personal.

4. McCain has some dirty laundry in his closet too. In the Fall let see if he goes after Obama or Hillary.

5. Can anyone explain what happened in the final scene of "No Country for Old Men"? I think I missed something because it doesn't make sense...lol

W. Patrick Lang

Jose

I want the question about "NCFOM" answered over on the Athenaeum in the movie review for the film. Good question. I think I know. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Jose:

The President of the United States had publicly stated 3 goals in 2003:

1- Removal of Saddam Hussein

2- Elimination of WMD in Iraq

3- (Liberal) Democracy (and the Rule of Law) in Iraq.

Of these goals, the first one is accomplished, the second one was already accomplished before the invasion, and the third one is accomplished if by "Democracy" you only comprehend representative government and not a liberal dispensation with the Rule of Law.

So, the 3 publicly stated goals are all accomplished. He could, at any time since 2005, declare victory.

Florestan

"Endless War In the Name of Peace" motto of the Stiftung Leo Strauss.
Pat, you're familiar with the Straussians, Cheney and Bush can best be explained by this philosophy--their most recent podcast spells much of it out.
http://www.stiftungleostrauss.com/StiftungLeoStrauss.mp3

b

On Cheney:
"What's the deal with him? Is he really impaired somehow or is it about the money as the "oilies" insist?"

Simple:
CBS, 2003: Cheney's Halliburton Ties Remain

According to Cheney's 2001 financial disclosure report, the vice president's Halliburton benefits include three batches of stock options comprising 433,333 shares.

The Phil $OSX (includes Halliburton) has quadrupled since the war started. Options usually have some 'leverage' ... things add up ...
---

Towards Mister Cumming upthread:

"Perhaps as another said Not the Beginning of the End but certainly the END of the Beginning when the US seemed to be REAGAN's shining city of light on a hill for what now appears to be a very brief time and largely based on luck not necessarily skill. The world cannot operate successfully without a capable, competent, economically strong US but it is going to take some time to rebuild if it is to happen. Time for hard decisions. First, who has the skills to make them, and then who has the skills to see them through to completion."

Perhaps you should ask the people of Nicaragua about that "shining city on a hill" (not Reagans invention btw but puritan/evangelic codewords -> John Winthrop (1588–1649))?

So the world can not 'operate' without a U.S superpower?

Well, the world can obviously 'operate' without a Roman empire, without a Spanish empire, without a British empire, without a 1000 year Reich.

It can certainly 'operate' without some lunatic phantasy of a militaristic "shining city on a hill" that is inhabitated by 5% of the world's population but uses 25% of the worlds energy.

rawdawgbuffalo

Guess this is what we get for having a president who is a recovering addict he talk like he live in iraq daily

Bobo

Victory is the word that needs to be pushed stronger by our Media. We have had numerous Victories throughout this campaign and they need to be talked about in more detail.

Just think if our media kept talking about our conquests in Iraq then it may rub off on someone who will call it a day before Curly, Moe and Larry figure out the same.

Jose

Thank you Babak Makkinejad,

I know you are right but think that it was not worth it to get rid of Saddam.

Never send an Amy to do the job of a sniper or JDAM or an ambitious Colonel.

The other two are just fantasies to cover up for the greatest strategic mistake in America's history.

IMHO, forget about the oil and the money focus on the simplest explanation, Bush and Cheney were to stupid to realize the neocons where full of S*(&!

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium. (Baghdad and/or Jerusalem and/or Washington lol)

Sailing to Byzantium by Yeats

David W

Bush is performing his job exactly as those who put him in that position wanted (and i'm not talking about the American people). He is a front man, just as he has been in every position he has ever held.

It is too diffuse to call it a 'conspiracy,' however, I think we've gone beyond the point where the interests of the monied elites are aligned with those of the American people, whose chief role now appears to be taxpayer and consumer, not citizen.

Nancy K

It is not turning against our troops to say they should not be there, they should be home with their families. I completely support our troops and I completely believe they should not be in Iraq. To say let the Iraqi's deal with Iraq may sound cruel but I say it anyway. Our men and women should not be dying there. Unfortunately we have a fool for a president

kim

john mccain.
pow. wrong end of the torture procedure, for too long. that'll burn yer brain, swift or slow.
call him an american hero who's done the best he could and let him fade, honorably, away.
that's a task the american "main stream media" could do for us. but they won't. sad.

we don't need obama and clinton on the same ticket, that'd be a waste of talent. president obama needs secretary clinton running state. wasn't that long ago they both scared me, but they both seem to be learning on the tour. which is a good thing. unlike what we've had...

Leila

OK Lina, the last thing I want to be is humorless. Just yesterday I was having another belly laugh with a friend about my metastatic cancer (for real) so I absolutely can laugh about the Democratic primary.

On the internet, nobody knows when you're kidding. Sorry I missed this one.

Come to think of it, my response did seem singularly humorless. AAAAH the primaries are finally getting to me. I thought I was so detached!

Back to the cancer and chemotherapy jokes for me... These have to be funnier than Barack vs. Hilary...

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