October 22, 2007 archive

Cult of Personality

I am lucky. I have paid attention to the 2008 Presidential race only insofar as it intersected with the issues I most care about now. Because of that, I get to support a candidate, Chris Dodd, because of the stands he is taking on the issues now. Frankly, Chris Dodd the politician, is not of particular interest to me. SENATOR Chris Dodd, the Democratic representative for Connecticut in the US Senate, has taken stands on the issues that most matter to me.

Some (Obama supporters especially) do not have that luxury. Because their support is so wrapped up in him, and not the issues, they have to defend actions and positions that they probably do not agree with. That is what happens when a campaign becomes a cult of personality.

Four at Four

The news and open thead at 4 o’clock.

  1. Reuters reports that Turkey to exhaust diplomacy before striking. “Turkey said on Monday it would exhaust diplomatic channels before launching any military strike into northern Iraq to root out Kurdish rebels, who killed at least a dozen Turkish soldiers in fighting over the weekend. Turkey has built up its forces along the border with Iraq in preparation for an incursion against rebel bases but Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has said he will hold off for a few days to let the United States try to curb the Kurdish separatists.”

    The Guardian reports Iraq says Kurdish rebels will announce ceasefire. “Kurdish rebels will announce a ceasefire tonight, the Iraqi president said today, with the news coming amid hectic diplomatic efforts to avert a Turkish attack on northern Iraq.”

    A Kurdish press agency has released the names of seven of eight men who were taken hostage after the clash, in south-eastern Turkey, which Ankara has blamed on PKK guerrillas…

    The Turkish soldiers died during a large operation against PKK rebels in the Oramar area of Hakkari province, where the borders of Iran, Iraq and Turkey converge.

    PKK guerillas reportedly blew up a bridge as a Turkish military convoy was crossing it. In the fighting that ensued, the Turkish military said it had killed 32 rebels.

    A spokesman for the PKK told the Guardian guerillas had killed 17 Turkish soldiers as they ambushed a military convoy heading towards the Iraqi border. The rebel group had also taken eight “prisoners of war”. He said the PKK had suffered no losses.

    The attacks by the “separatist Kurdish Workers’ Party, known by its Kurdish initials PKK” have been condemned by the Bush administration and the Kurdish government in northern Iraq. The Washington Post reports, U.S. is discouraging Turkey from cross-border attack.

    The Bush administration condemned the Kurdish assault. “These attacks are unacceptable and must stop now,” said Gordon Johndroe, President Bush’s national security spokesman.

    Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish regional government, also condemned the attack but warned against a Turkish offensive into northern Iraq. “If this struggle touches the Kurdistan region, then we will defend our citizens,” he said.

    “Iraqi residents of the border area braced for more of the violence that has destroyed parts of their villages and forced some of them to flee.” As covered in Saturday’s Four at Four, Iraqis who fled homes in fear face new terror as Turkey targets PKK rebels. Refugees from across Iraq who fled to the Kurdish north and found relative peace now are are “threatened by shelling and cross-border raids” from Turkey as the country targets the PKK. Upwards of 30,000 people may be displaced by a Turkish incursion.

In the rest of today’s Four at Four — Big news about Blackwater from Henry Waxman in today’s Guns of Greed. There are also stories about aviation safety and libraries. Plus a bonus story about one man’s quest to help save sea turtles. So, dive in. The water’s fine below the fold.

No Brains For Oil: Zombie Nation Strikes Again!

Sometimes I can be impulsive with my camera, and yesterday was one of those days.  Someone at FaceBook let me know that in a few minutes, a bunch of zombies would be assembling at “The Troll” that lives under the Aurora Bridge in Fremont (“Center of the Universe”) in Seattle.  I headed out.

Why zombies?  It’s Halloween season and there are new horror films out.  That’s not all though.  Zombies are also party a manifestation of a healthy “question authority” attitude spawned in San Francisco with the guerilla “occupation” of straight bars by gays and lesbians.  It has mushroomed into groups of marauding zombies, hordes of Santas who last year rode the carousel downtown and infiltrated a fetish convention, and legions of brides of both genders who will marry promient “phallic” monuments (such as the Space Needle and Hammering Man), come spring.


(more photos & discussion at http://www.silencedm…)


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Twilight of the Bushites

Aus des Rheines Gold ist der Reif geglüht.

Watching a DVD of the New York Metropolitan’s version of Richard Wagner’s Götterdämmerung (or Twilight of the Gods [TOG]) the other day, I was struck at how prescient the otherwise reactionary composer was in anticipating the destruction of the voracious classes. (One should not find it odd that in Wagner one finds mixed the most progressive and the most reactionary of views and trends, as in this he is the exemplar of the age, which mixes reason and progress with vile reaction, destruction, and mass murder.)

Dick Cheney, who is Alberich in my analogy with Wagner’s opera, was on the stump beating war tom-toms against Iran during a 35-minute talk at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), which The New York Times calls “a research organization”. In reality, WINEP is a well-known right-wing pro-Israel lobby. While praised by liberal dreamboat Al Gore as “Washington’s most respected center for studies on the Middle East”, according to Right Web:

For Iraqis It’s 9/11 Every Day.

On September 13, 2007 George W. Bush told the world how wonderfully his “surge” is working to deliver heaven on earth to Iraqis:

Eight months ago, we adopted a new strategy to meet that objective, including a surge in U.S. forces that reached full strength in June. This week, General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker testified before Congress about how that strategy is progressing. In their testimony, these men made clear that our challenge in Iraq is formidable. Yet they concluded that conditions in Iraq are improving, that we are seizing the initiative from the enemy, and that the troop surge is working.

The premise of our strategy is that securing the Iraqi population is the foundation for all other progress. For Iraqis to bridge sectarian divides, they need to feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods. For lasting reconciliation to take root, Iraqis must feel confident that they do not need sectarian gangs for security. The goal of the surge is to provide that security and to help prepare Iraqi forces to maintain it. As I will explain tonight, our success in meeting these objectives now allows us to begin bringing some of our troops home.

George W. Bush has at least two fans who still take anything he has to say as resembling reality. Himself, and General David H. Petraeus. Not many more.

George W. Bush has had his say. Now it’s time for a little real reality.

Missing From The Iraq Coverage

is the reality that Democrats can end the Debacle by not funding it. The power of doing nothing is lost on them. Instead, we see the Republican Party responding to its base (h/t Josh Marshall):

Despite months of pressure, no more than eight Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have backed any measure that mandates a troop withdrawal. And GOP strategists predict that is unlikely to change.

“Republicans have to be cognizant of where their base is,” said pollster Bob Wickers, whose company has worked with Republican candidates in a dozen states in recent years.

Here's my question, why don't Democrats have to be cognizant of where THE COUNTRY is? Josh's post is really missing this point – that Democrats won in 2006 on Iraq. That THEIR base and the country want out of Iraq. And that they have the power to stop the war. By doing nothing. It is the central insight and is missing from much of the Iraq coverage, Media and blogs alike.

Pony Party: Procrastination

Light Emitting Pickle here to bring you the most recent open thread. First, a few words about Pickle Pony Parties:

Please do not recommend a Pony Party when you see one.  There will be another along in a few hours.

The monetization of dishonesty

Stirling Newberry coined a brilliant phrase a few years ago: “A bubble is the monetization of stupidity.” Looking at the growing evidence of a financial meltdown in the US economy, I would argue for a broader assertion: recent American prosperity has been based on the monetization of dishonesty. Ever since the savings and loan scandal of the Reagan years, large-scale financial corruption seems to have become endemic to the US economy. This diary lists some of the evidence and addresses the unpleasant conclusions.

Free Financial Advice


I admit it – I’m a closet Randi Rhodes fan. It’s not even her show so much as her personal story, her ‘damned the torpedoes’ approach to life, and her in-your-face style. If I ever had the pleasure of meeting her, I would be thrilled if we hit it off and became friends.

But I cringe every time I hear one of her radio commercials.

Pony Party, NFL Roundup

For more widgets please visit www.yourminis.com

Burma: The world turns away; the bad guys win.

On Saturday, the Guardian reported this:

The military regime in Burma is still holding up to 2,500 people in prisons and labour camps around the country, and continues to arrest suspected dissidents, the British government claimed yesterday.

The ethnic conflict between the regime and the Karen minority is expected to worsen.

The U.S. and Europe have imposed economic sanctions, and the U.N. waved an angry finger.


However, the sanctions do not include the oil and gas sector, and Amnesty International yesterday said the junta was still receiving military equipment from China, Russia, Ukraine, and India.

The regime claims to have released all but about 500 prisoners.


A British diplomat estimates they’re still holding at least four or five times that many.

“There are substantial night-time raids going on. They have scooped up hundreds of people,” the diplomat said.

The prisoners are being sent to many locations, around the country. They are expected to spend years in prison. Some are expected to spend decades in prison.


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