May 26, 2008 archive

War Pigs: Was 9/11 Cover for a Coup d’Etat?

“A coup consists of the infiltration of a small but critical segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder.”

-Edward Luttwak

On Memorial Day, a day that is intended to be one of somber remembrance and the recognition of our nation’s war dead although it is perversely come to be more associated with boozing barbecues, silly assed NASCAR races and the inevitable retail extravaganzas at the shopping emporiums throughout the land it is no longer necessary to most Americans to pay tribute. They are the type who just wear those stupid assed American flag pins as though they were some sort of star spangled merkin, festoon their gas guzzlers with yellow ribbon stickers that in and of themselves are gauche take offs on a lousy country western song and wrongly believe that they are being truly patriotic. Such garbage only serves to dishonor those who have sacrificed and perished in past conflicts and will continue to do so in the new American century due to the illegal wars of aggression and conquest that have been thrust upon us due to the criminal Bush regime and it’s neocon policy makers who conspire in secret to launch their schemes of global conquest all justified by that one great and fortuitous ‘terrorist’ attack that tore open a hole to a parallel universe where up is down, black is white, freedom is slavery, war is peace and most importantly: ignorance is strength.

I’m sorry.

Here’s something you’ll never hear from any pundit, news reporter, or politician this Memorial Day: an apology.

To all the soldiers who have been maimed and killed in the wars of the Bush-Cheney regime:

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I didn’t do more to voice my opposition when it mattered.

I’m sorry I have kept paying for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan with my tax dollars, without doing more to ensure that you had all the equipment and training you needed to stay alive.  I’m sorry I didn’t do more to prevent all the money spent so far from being written in the form of blank checks to Halliburton and other war profiteers.

I’m sorry for all the pain, suffering, and death you’ve had to endure.

I’m sorry you were sent in without a clear mission, without an objective, and without constraints on your behavior so you could avoid being put in the position of committing war crimes on the orders of your inferiors in Washington.

I’m sorry some of you were allowed to be in the military, when your recruiters and training instructors knew you had little or no moral compass, when they knew you might gladly mistreat prisoners at places such as Abu Ghraib and Gitmo.  The actions carried out by these disgraces to their uniforms have tarnished the reputation of the military as a whole.

I’m sorry many of you who were maimed — mentally, physically, or both — were tricked out of your health care benefits by a Pentagon so greedy for money that it decided it could get away with fraudulently listing your conditions as pre-existing.

I’m sorry I didn’t make a bigger, louder, and more effective effort to call for the impeachment, prosecution, and conviction of those whose lies sent you into the hell of Iraq and Afghanistan with no way out.

To the families who have lost loved ones to these horrific wars and occupations:

I’m sorry your friends and relatives have suffered and died in vain.  I’m sorry their sacrifices have been swept under the rug, their true stories and their names and faces hidden away so that the public feels little connection to what’s being done in our name.  I’m sorry your loved ones have been turned into instruments of propaganda and political posturing.

To the people of Iraq:

I’m sorry for everything you’ve had to endure.

A Memorial Day Tribute

The picture below was taken in July of 1918 at Camp Dodge, on the north side of Des Moines, IA.  Approximately 18,000 men were assembled on the parade grounds to form a “living” Statue of Liberty.

According to a July 3, 1986, story in the Fort Dodge Messenger, many men fainted-they were dressed in woolen uniforms-as the temperature neared 105 degrees Farenheit. The photo, taken from the top of a specially constructed tower by a Chicago photography studio, Mole & Thomas, was intended to help promote the sale of war bonds but was never used.” (Grover 1987)

Four at Four

  1. Military Chief Warns Troops About Politics
    By Thom Shanker, The New York Times

    The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has written an unusual open letter to all those in uniform, warning them to stay out of politics as the nation approaches a presidential election in which the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be a central, and certainly divisive, issue.

    “The U.S. military must remain apolitical at all times and in all ways,” wrote the chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, the nation’s highest-ranking officer. “It is and must always be a neutral instrument of the state, no matter which party holds sway.” …

    “As the nation prepares to elect a new president,” Admiral Mullen wrote, “we would all do well to remember the promises we made: to obey civilian authority, to support and defend the Constitution and to do our duty at all times.”

    “Keeping our politics private is a good first step,” he added. “The only things we should be wearing on our sleeves are our military insignia.”

    Admiral Mullen said he was inspired to write the essay after receiving a constant stream of legitimate, if troubling, questions while visiting military personnel around the world. He said their questions included, “What if a Democrat wins?” and, “What will that do to the mission in Iraq?” and, “Do you think it’s better for one party or another to have the White House?”

    What if a Democrat wins? Can you imagine what the blowback would have been if Mullen said ‘What if a Republican wins?’ Coming on the tail of Gen. Petraeus expecting troop cuts in September. Hrmmm… the Brass is sure staying clear of politics.

  2. Soft landing on a rough Mars terrain
    By Mark Carreau, Houston Chronicle

    NASA’s Phoenix Lander settled softly onto the frozen plains surrounding the unexplored Martian north pole late Sunday and sent back a crystal clear portrait that revealed a healthy machine in one piece.

    Signals confirming the three-legged spacecraft’s arrival reached NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at 6:53 p.m. CDT, unleashing a burst of cheers from an anxious squad of flight controllers…

    Signals heralding Phoenix’s arrival were relayed to Earth through NASA’s Mars Odyssey, a spacecraft circling the Red Planet… Odyssey sailed over Phoenix for a second time, 90 minutes after the dramatic landing to collect a lander self-portrait and relay the photos to Earth.

Four at Four continues with Obama at Wesleyan and ship antics in Duluth.



Some Thoughts on Utilitarian Arguments Against Torture

The following represent some preliminary thoughts I have had on the question often asked, does torture work?

It depends what you are trying to accomplish with it.

Does it yield reliable information? No.

Does it ever give anything other than desperate fictions from the tortured? Yes

Alfred McCoy explains how torture used on the individual is unreliable, yet perpetrated upon thousands it can supply a small amount of real information. (In my work with torture victims, I certainly have personal knowledge of individuals who have broken under torture and revealed information or given up names to their captors.) But the latter technique is very expensive, especially from a moral/political point of view. It turns the population against you, and degrades the country that uses it. The use of torture always blows back into the society that uses it.

Memorial Day

I’ve always had a hard time with this day.  I’ve always had a hard time with the military, understanding my own feelings about those who, with the power of government behind them, put guns in the hands of young men and women and teach them how to kill.

Here we are in the 21st Century, and we are still doing this, putting weapons in the hands of young men and women, sending them out to kill human beings.

We hear the usual sayings, “they chose to serve,” “to protect and defend,” “those who died are heros,” all those things.

I wonder what Americans really want when it comes to protecting and defending.

Memorial Day has become in our modern world a day to remember those who died for the sake of protecting and defending our country.

I see the names, I read the IGTNT diaries over at Daily Kos, showing the pictures of those killed in war, showing their families and friends, telling of their lives, their interests, dreams, ambitions.

Protect and defend.

They chose to serve.

Fear and Loafing in Las Vegas

Being a series of gross oversimplified generalizations written in various stages of being on both pain and painkillers, with a happy ending:

I spent five hours in the Las Vegas airport Saturday night. I can’t think of a better reintroduction to America.


A pleasure city built in the middle of the desert to serve the repressed desires of puritanical Americans, who would deny themselves and others pleasure. An illusory mirage of freedom from the constrictions of self imposed illusory moral rectitude. Sin City, it is called. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas….because you aren’t allowed to have fun anywhere else! Built in the middle of the desert…where no body will notice it, lol. A pleasure city to which, in part the mighty Colorado River has been sacrificed. The Colorado River, in case you did not know, no longer reaches the sea. Every drop of it is diverted now, so that Americas can have fountains and golf courses and swimming pools in the middle of a dessert.


Truly a symbol of Americas power. Americas indisputably great power, and Americas indisputably VERY odd use of its great power.



Bob Barr is the Libertarian Candidate! (Battle of the Mavericks) No. Really!

Bob Barr, member of the US Congress from Georgia’s 7th Congressional district from 1995 to 2003 was nominated Sunday by the Libertarian Party as the nominee for the Libertarian Party Presidential candidate in 2008.

Of course, Bob Barr, Jr. is NO Libertarian, but a very questionable Wingnut that has a couple of Libertarian leanings, such as opposing the war in Iraq as well as being critical of the BushCo abuses of civil liberities here in the USA after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  

Since he didn’t agree with King George W. Bush on EVERY thing King George wanted, in Barr’s last term in Congress he was branded by the “walk-in-lockstep-follow-like-a-sheep” Republicans as a Maverick and Jekyll-and-Hyde.  

Coup THIS!


Don’t think I haven’t seen what has been going on around here in my absence!

What is more….don’t think I care!

For there is one thing that all of you plotters and conspirators have forgotten, in your mad rush for glory, in your heady quest for power!

You cannot steal what is freely given


And thus do I defeat the coup!!!!!  

U. Utah Phillips, RIP

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


“The Golden Voice of the Great Southwest” sings no more. Bruce “U. Utah” Phillips who, tongue firmly in cheek, billed himself that way, died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Nevada City, CA, May 23. He was 73.

Phillips was one of the deans of American folk music, a crucial link to the working class movement and history of western North America, and a cheerfully subversive social critic.

A proud, card-carrying Wobbly, Bruce made the songs and stories of the American West his own. As indeed they were. When he returned home from the Korean War, Phillips was broke in purse, body and spirit, riding the rails, until he landed at Joe Hill House in Salt Lake City, a shelter run by anarchist Ammon Hennacy of the Catholic Workers movement. Hennacy’s Marxism made sense of Phillip’s experience, and from it grew the knowledge and imagination Phillips subsequently put on stage.

Starting in the late 1960s, “U. Utah Phillips, The Golden Voice of the Great Southwest” sang the old, radical songs of the Little Red Song Book, and told the old organizers’ stories, working class yarns, rants and tall tales. He performed them with the skill and panache of Hal Holbrook doing Mark Twain – and thereby rejuvenated them. At hundreds of folk festivals and thousands of concerts, through a dozen recordings, he passed the lore on to two generations of new listeners, including young musicians like Ani De Franco.


When the the U.S. government finally released Joe Hill’s ashes, it was to Phillips that they gave them.

In his own words:

“Listen,” Phillips wrote in 1995, when first forced to cancel his extensive touring schedule, “for 25 years now, I have been part of a family which has given me a living – not a killing, but a living – a trade without bosses, in which I could own what I do, make all of the creative decisions, be free to say and sing whatever I chose to… Front porch, kitchen, back yard, drunk and sober, young and old, coast-to-coast folk music, a world in which I discovered that I don’t need power, wealth, or fame. I need friends. And that’s what I found and still find.”

“To hell with the mainstream,” Bruce concluded. “It’s polluted. What purifies the mainstream? The little tributaries up in the wilderness where the pure water flows. Better to be lost in the tributaries known to a few, than mired in the mainstream, consumed with self-love and the absurdity of greed. Please. Don’t give our world up. It needs to grow, yes – but subtly, out, through, under, quietly, like water eroding stone, subversive, alive, happy.”

In his own way:

He will be sorely missed.

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