• "God invented war so Americans could learn geography" -- Mark Twain.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Pogo Redux

Reuters:  "The United States has increased its military presence in Iraq, ordering 300 more troops   ....."  

LOL LOL.  "We have engaged the enemy and we is  QUAGMIRED!"


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Di Fi does Sunday Morning Game Show

Speaking on CNN this Sunday (22 June 2014) Senawhore Feinstein admitted that U.S. intelligence services did not see ISIS coming....

QUESTION:  Did U.S. intelligence spot this problem? Did you know of it ahead of time? And was the severity of it obvious through the intelligence?

FEINSTEIN: Well, obviously, we know about ISIS. We have seen its developments in Syria. 

BOiiiiiiiiiiiNG!!! BLEEEEEEH ?!!  BLONK!!!   

Sooooooooooooo sorry.  But you failed to answer the question.  Obviously “we all have seen” its development.  It’s been on the news for the past week.   But you still have two more questions to go ...  FOR THE GRAND PRIZE!!!

QUESTION: Did we know that a third of Iraq could be taken over so quickly? Did we see that coming?

FEINSTEIN: I would have to say no.   But I think it is a real wakeup call for the United States, because they do want to develop the caliphate. They do want to - and they now have just about destroyed the border with Syria.

QUESTION: Right. Now, let me - let me just go back to the first point.  What happened here? Isn't here - does that upset you? Is that a failure?

FEINSTEIN: Well, let's look at this practically.  You either have to have the technical means up in the sky or in other places, or you have to have assets, people who will give you human intelligence. This is a different culture. It is very difficult to pierce. The piercing, intelligence-wise, from the position of human intelligence, has been very difficult all along.    ....

Culturally speaking.... genderwise.... gastronomically... being that they don't speak English and all...




Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Our National Impotence & Inadequacy

It was barely over two weeks since Obama’s vaunted “re-set” of U.S. foreign policy before the neocons lashed out again, this time through a Cheney & Daughter Duo fighting “to restore American, strength, power and influence around the world.

In an amateurishly designed web page with a badly photo-shopped image of the Stars and Bars, Cheney and Daughter decried the “reverses” to American power and prestige under the fumbling the Obama administration,

"We stand at a critical moment in the life of our nation. The policies of the last six years have left America diminished and weakened. Our enemies no longer fear us. Our allies no longer trust us. ....  Threats to America’s security are on the rise."
The Alliance for a Strong Amurka will, they said,

"advocate for the policies needed to restore American power and pre-eminence;

"explain the indispensable role America and American power must play in the world in order to defeat the broad array of threats we face today;  and

"fight to restore the strength of America's military -- the greatest fighting force and the greatest force for good the world has ever known... "

We tried to find out who the culprits of this political sleaze were, but “Home,”  “About Us” and “About the Cheneys” produced nothing more than that Cheney and Daughter put this 501(k) project together themselves.

Well..... one can’t get more freedumb luvin and ‘murkan than a father and daughter raising their voices to do what they think is best for our beloved, god-blessed, land.

But Cheney never does anything alone. He is a focal point for a vortex of interests.  So we clicked away, and sure enough under the “news” section of the home-made blog  found a list of “resources”

Sooo... it was the same ol’ same ol’ crowd with the same ol’  same ol’ names.  Looking into the links [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7] was like looking into a basket — not of vipers — but of slimy, repulsive, poisonous creep crawly things.

We have no compunction in saying that these people are an infection.

We have said recently and before that the difference between a neocon and a (neo)liberal is primarily one of tone, and the Strong Murka page bears us out.

There is no difference between Liz Cheney crowing that "America is the exceptional nation" and Obama’s declaration at West Point that “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.”

Nor is there any real difference between talking about the indispensible role America must play in the world in order to defeat the broad array of threats we face (Cheney) and talking about the the right to use force  “unilaterally if necessary, ...  when our people are threatened; when our livelihood is at stake; or when the security of our allies is in danger." (Obama)  They are both assertions of  top dog status which trumpet  the necessity of extending American power and preeminence throughout the world.  Both statements are fundamentally exceptionalist.

The difference between the two camps remains what it has always been since the days of George F. Kennan: degree of swagger.  Obama would prefer to work through established institutions, quietly, covertly and on the cheap,  Cheney et al.  want to go for broke and bomb every “potential threat” into oblivion.

The chief difference between Obama and the neocons is not so much over policy as it is over profits.  Cheney is remarkably candid when he says that his goal is to “fight to restore the strength of America's military...

Surely he is not advocating more pushup in training! No, what Cheney means is that he wants to shovel more trillions into the maw of the defense industry.  It was not big oil that was pushing the New American Century agenda but rather Raytheon (which funded the PNAC).  The footprints of the sleaze involved in these “projects” lead back either to AIPAC or to the defense-establishment and industry.

The two interests dovetail over rubblizing.  The more the Middle East is bombed into oblivion the more profit defense industries make and the more secure Israel feels.  This much was explicitly stated in the Neocon letter to President Clinton of 26 January 1998, in which the noncom crowd urged the “removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power.”

The letter went on to say that it was uncertain whether Iraq currently possessed weapons of mass destruction but “[s]uch uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East.

Thus, “[t]he only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action....”

The letter concluded by urging Clinton to “act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country.”

Who would be “threatened” by the uncertain “possibility” that Iraq might have weapons of mass destruction?  Certainly not the American “homeland.”  When it is said that the threat is  against “the U.S. or its allies” what was actually meant was Israel, which was and is the only entity which might with some degree of plausible possibility be affected. 

It was a match made in hell.  The defense industries would get trillions in full spectrum capacitation and deployment and Israel gets a no-man's land of rubble between itself and (what is left) of the “rest” of the Arab world.

Neither Clinton or Obama have deviated from the fundamental premises at issue.  They simply want to accomplish the objectives by going for less broke.  Cheney and the Neocons, invited the United States to shoot for the moon in what amounts to a colossal political whack job.

Which brings  us to what really fascinates us about the Cheney & Daughter Duo.  It ought to be a point of fatal derision that Cheney (who moves nowhere without doctors and oxygen tanks in tow) stands before a  backdrop of High Ponderosa, looking like none other than The Big HOSS,

On would think that such mongering would be laughed to scorn. But not in this exceptional land of ours. The baffling and frightening thing about ‘uhmurka” is that this sort of insanity works.   Plain talkin’ country folk talkin’ plainly about our National Impotence and Inadequacy.

We are left “diminished and weakened” ... in danger of not keeping it up... Obama has put on the “path of decline” ... We need to be hard and to project our power ... For Iran is marching!  Obama has kept us in the dark as to “the true nature of the threat we face”  For there is no doubt that there are dark dangers lurking in the murky corners of our bedroom.  How do we know this?  Because the corners would not be dark if they weren’t hiding something. 
A person who spoke this way would be certified as insane.   Bombast and belligerence are nothing uniquely American and at least half the country is sick of the wages of war.   At the same time, far too many Americans are susceptible to a toxic brew of self-doubting self-righteousness coupled with the fearful certitude of lurking, unseen dangers ready to devour  us in an instant unless we strike out against them in God's Name.  Hoss would have wanted  it.

©wcg, 2014

Clarity in these Times

Iraq requests US Airstrikes as Insurgents widen Gains.

U.S. Signals Iraq's Maliki Should Go

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Clown Act of U.S. Policy

Was it even a decent interval?  Two weeks after Obama’s vaunted “policy reset” in which he committed the United States to “partner with countries where terrorist networks seek a foothold,” the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria captured Mosul and came into control of a crescent of territory stretching from the outskirts of Aleppa (Syria) to the outskirts of Baghdad (Iraq).

A more contemptuous kick in the teeth was hard to imagine.  The U.S. satrap in Baghdad, Al-Maliki, set up a pathetic wail for help to which Obama replied, with impressive emphasis, that all options were on the table.

Ridi Pagiliacci.

Now, this blog was among the first to point out that the actual aim of U.S. “full spectrum” strategy is to promote degradation, destruction and chaos, so that what appear as ostensible failures in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are in actuality crypto-successes. 

This strategic objective flows from the stated premise of neocon policy “to prevent the emergence of potential rivals.”  The best way to prevent a man from becoming a possible rival is to break his legs as a child, deny him an education and get him addicted to drugs.  It’s brutal, simple and a form of genocide.

But sometimes a limp dick is just a limp dick and  Obama is reduced to blathering redundancies and pieties.  Since the U.S. has no stomach for re-introducing troops and since economic sanctions (oil) would be a boomerang in the face, the only “option” left is to drone and bomb the place to smithereens.  But we already did that.  There is a limit to how much you can pulverize; and in case anyone in Air Command has noticed, neither area bombing nor droning ever break the enemy’s resistance.

Oh... and to make matters all the more pathetic, the U.S. is all but back in bed with Arch-Foe, Demon Iran, Existential Enemy to Holy Israel whose cross-eyed moles were the anvil beaters who forged the preemptive belligerence which was the whoop and awe for the New American Century.

What we are seeing now is the fall which cometh after the prideEt dispersit superbos in mente cordis suis.  


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Frustration ...

"My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage," Obama said.

Like the Pentagon? 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Delusions of Office

"Bigger nations must not be allowed to bully the small, or impose their will at the barrel of a gun or with masked men taking over buildings."

Yes, Obama really said that.   He made the remarks during  his tour of the Eastern Front... 

Apparently,  history (that is fact-based history) isn't taught at Columbia anymore.   The list of U.S. retaliations, punitive expeditions and invasions omits hardly a single year since 1776.   

Not atypical are entries such as: "1854 – Nicaragua: On July 9–15, naval forces bombarded and burned San Juan del Norte (Greytown) to avenge an insult to the American Minister to Nicaragua"

Many of the expeditions are cast in terms of hunting out "pirates" or "protecting American interests" -- you know, like Aunt Emma's suitcase or perhaps bananas....

The workers of the banana plantations in Colombia went on strike in December 1928. They demanded written contracts, eight-hour work days, six-day work weeks and the elimination of food coupons. The strike turned into the largest labor movement ever witnessed in the country until then.  The United States threatened to invade with the U.S. Marine Corps if the Colombian government did not act to protect United Fruit’s interests.   An army regiment from Bogotá was dispatched by the government to deal with the strikers, which it deemed to be subversive. The troops set up their machine guns on the roofs of the low buildings at the corners of the main square, closed off the access streets and after a five-minute warning opened fire into a dense Sunday crowd of workers and their wives and children who had gathered, after Sunday Mass... (Banana Massacre)
But that was nothing compared to McKinley's massacres in the Phillippines or the aggregate massacres in Guatemala, Nicaragua and San Salvador by U.S. trained death squads.

But is Obama really and truly that ignorant?  After all, it was masked Right Sektor men who took over the Ukrainian Parliament at the connivance of Obama's under-secretary of state, while Senator John McCain personally cheered them on.    And this was just three months ago. 

Of more interest than a tiresome rehash of U.S. global bullying is the proposition that Obama truly sees no contradiction.   He is not playing the hypocrite because his consciousness of contradiction has been erased from his mind.   Orwell tell us that

the truest believer of Big Brother's lies, is Big Brother himself.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Resentful Spirit of Republicanism

No sooner than the ink was dry on Juan Carlos’ abdication than a noisy swarm of republicans swelled the streets of Spain demanding the abolition of the monarchy and, in what must certainly qualify as an act of useless, political nostalgia, chanting the anthems of the Second Republic or perhaps even of the  year long  First.

The usual complaints are advanced: (1) Why should they get to live in palaces while I don’t? (2) I am not anyone’s subject! (3) Their luxurious upkeep is a waste of public treasure; and (4) The country would be better off being a democracy.

A bigger heap of resentful nonsense is hard to imagine.

Why should anyone get to live in a palace while others don’t?  Why can’t everyman have his own palace?  Because, in case republicans might not have noticed, unequal fortune is a fact of life.  The rich we always have with us.

Are there no rich in republics?  Is their wealth any better?  Do these republicans truly believe the canard that in democracies the rich earn their wealth through their own hard work and therefore deserve it?   You know, like Carlos Slim who was simply given Teléfonos de Mexico by the president and who is now the first or second wealthiest man in the world? 

Those who resent the “privileges” and “luxuries” monarchs supposedly enjoy “unfairly” might better direct their resentments against common oligarchs like Bill Gates, Jamie Dimon and the “Walmart Brothers.”  Does anyone think they acquired their hyper-fortunes fairly?

In all events, picking  on the Borbons for luxuriating in wealth is a stupidity based on a falsehood.

The House of Borbon is worth a paltry 5 million!! The Queen of England is worth a mere 450 million dollars.  In contrast, the “republican” Silvio Berlusconni is worth $6.2 billion.  The republican Sebastián Piñera is worth $2.4 billion. Even Fidel Castro is worth more than the King of Spain, weighing in at $900 million.  (Stats. per Wiki)

Oh but how we choke on the wealth and privileges of monarchs!   Republicanism is merely the spirit of resentment.

It does not diminish me in the slightest to pledge loyalty to a superior. In fact, most cooperative endeavors in the world are based on flesh and blood loyalties.  One of the principle dysfunctions of the modern world is that it is based on economies of alienation rather than those grounded in personal loyalties.

Men are not moved by algebra.  It is a stupid conceit of the French “enlightenment” that Cartesian abstractions are more solid and inspiring than “carne y hueso” (Ortega y Gasset).

Animals and humans alike are drawn to and motivated by presence and plumage.  It is nothing to be suppressed or ashamed of.  From prides to teams to platoons to board rooms alpha’s are recognized and followed as surpassing the rest of us in some way.  People around the world loved John Kennedy because they delighted in his presence, and personality not because he was a constitutional office holder.  And he was just as much the creature of privilege as any monarch.  

Most dynasties began with some commanding personality and it was assumed (not without reason) that the “genius” of the father would be passed to the son.  That was sometimes, but not always the case. Genes being the mysterious things they are, there was no shortage of imbeciles and incompetents in the grand lineages of blue blood. 

In times passed, monarchs ruled as well as reigned, their rulership appropriate to the social complexity and political economies of the times.  As with anything there were good and bad and ugly monarchs.  But it is highly debatable whether, on the whole, their record approaches the depravity, mass-cruelty and destruction wreaked upon the world by bourgeois republics. 

In any case, the point is academic.  Western monarchs do not rule but only reign.  They are flesh and blood symbols of the State and of the “all of us together” of each nation.  They represent history, continuity and a sense of community.  They are paid to look pretty and act pretty.  They are far superior totems to the glitzy ostentation of Hollywood or Washington that Americans are relegated to gushing over.

Constitutional monarchs provide a physical focus for animating loyalties and overcoming the calculations of partisan interests.  It is precisely in the momentary suppression of self which the presence of a monarch inspires that provides for a suspension of personal partisan striving which admits the transcending importance of the greater whole now and in historical progression.

Those who admire republicanism so much might well take a look at the United States — a republic, the highest symbol of which is a juridical document which no one reads much less understands, although they all swear allegiance to it with utmost solemnity.  Theorems and propositions are the conceits of a few but they never inspired the many. 

Of what value is republicanism?   The value of some uninspiring, drab, academic from nowhere representing the nation in an undertaker’s overcoat?   If anyone thinks that these republican heads of state are immune from mediocrity or corruption he is not living in the real world. 

The castigated “cost” of maintaining a monarch is simply a function of state-business.  Do republicans really equate the State with a monastery?  States have state functions, state dinners, state ceremonies all of which cost money whether republican or monarchical in form. 

Ah! comes the supposedly irrefutable gambit: “But presidents don’t ride around in gilded carriages.” No.. they ride around in armored vehicles called “The Beast” each one of which costs $1.5 million (there are 12), gets 3.7 miles to the gallon and requires a C-17 Globemaster transport air-craft to be hauled from place to place.  Then there is Air Force One.

 Ah yes.  The economies of a republic!

The British Monarch’s State Coach was built in 1762 and has supposedly been bought and paid for.  Her armored Bentley cost a mere $700.00.   The King of Spain’s official limousine is an Audi RS6 estimated to $100,000.  But why be conservative?  Quadruple the price for assumed “special features” — the bottom line is still lower than republican.

These comparisons are merely illustrative. The cost of state occasions depends on the weight and power of the state in question.  It all depends on popular preferences.  The British like theatrical pomp (from which they incidentally derive hefty tourist revenues) and are willing to front the costs (or seed money). Continental monarchies prefer a more economical mode and Juan Carlos’s “palace” can hardly be considered extravagant.

In caviling about the “costs” of monarchy republicans show themselves up for what they really are: joyless political puritans.

How is Spain not a democracy?  Do they not have elections at all levels?  Are the people prevented from venting their stupidities from the rooftops?  Did they not freely, fairly and democratically elect one incompetent clown after another for the past two decades?  How in the world is getting rid of the Borbons going to improve the degeneracy of Spain’s political class?

The idiots assembled in Puerta del Sol seem to have forgot that Spain is not ruled by an absolute monarchy.  In fact it is even a misnomer to speak of “constitutional monarchy.”  The present day monarchs of Europe are ceremonial monarchies

The crowd of agitated republicans in Spain, and their affiliates elsewhere, would better serve themselves by overthrowing the austerities of the banker-tyranny that actually rules them.

Instead, indulging what can only be regarded as a political fetish, the republicans of Spain think nothing of slandering a monarch who brought them freedom and gave them all they could reasonably hope for.   A poster making the rounds suggests that Juan Carlos and Felipe are continuations of Franco

What a vile canard!  Of course Juan Carlos was Franco’s chronological successor; but it is a truly nasty falsehood to insinuate that he represents a continuation of Franco’s regime. Far from continuing Franco’s Movimiento Nacional, he transformed it with the skill and delicacy of a political surgeon. 

Inheriting the powers of an absolute despot from Franco, it was the King’s choice to appoint the prime minister from a short-list submitted to him by the Council of the Realm, then stacked with Franco loyalists.  Behind the scenes Juan Carlos arranged to have a Adolfo Suarez, a relatively junior technocrat in Franco’s administration, included on the list as a dark-horse.  No one seriously  expected his appointment. It was all merely a show of “openness” for the closed circle of the Franquista elite. 

It was also the stuff of Shakespeare.  Juan Carlos did appoint Suarez prime minister and once in office the latter, dropped his carefully maintained mask  and began the process of democratization.  He legalized the Communist and Socialist parties (1976) and, with their participation, convoked a Constituent Assembly which  promulgated the present constitution. 

The constitution included provisions of social rights (health, education, housing) and, at the instance of Santiago Carillo, the head of the Communist party, the right of State intervention in private companies in the public interest and the facilitation of access by workers to ownership of the means of production were also enshrined in the Constitution  - a provision cribbed from the Article 123 of the “socialist” Mexican Constitution of 1917.

The Republic of the United States should be so monarchical.
One of the arguments republicans in Spain revert to, is that Juan Carlos’ “turn” to democracy was merely a bowing to the inevitable and is therefore nothing he should be praised for or credited with. 

The facts belie the claim. Although the hands on political work was done by Suarez, republicans studiously forget that it was Juan Carlos who held the loyalties of the army.  Franco was dead but his spirit was not.  Despite his manipulative massaging of Falangism, his coy flirtation with monarchists and his ultimate acquiescence in the economic reforms of Opus Dei “technocrats,”  Franco was at bottom and foremost a military man.  His ideology was himself, his support was the army and he was good at maintaining both.  Once El Caudillo was dead, his mantel passed to Juan Carlos and it was his command of the Army’s loyalty to his person, as king and commander,  that kept the Army in line and later suppressed the attempted coup in 1981.

But let it be assumed that Juan Carlos “merely” bowed to the inevitable.  If Juan Carlos recognized that democracy was inevitable and if he chose not to obstruct it with the support of the Army and the absolute powers conferred upon him by Franco, he is to be praised not maligned for that choice. Should he have instead emulated the example of the Imperial Imbecile, Ferdinando VII?   Please.

And here we come to the guts of republican grievances.  They are still bitching and moaning over the fact that they lost the Civil War and are looking for some last act of revenge.

The Spanish Civil War was a terrible episode with atrocities committed on both sides. What republicans seem to forget is that it was a civil war; that is, a country divided against itself. (The election of 1936 was virtually a 50/50 split between the Popular and the National fronts.)  It is not a solution to anything to go on insisting that one half the country is wrong and only your half is right.

In a broader sense the Civil War was a 20th century continuation of the political fissures which had convulsed Spain (and the Spanish Empire) since the abortive promulgation of the liberal 1812 constitution.   By the 1930's, each side was a collection of factions: communists, anarchists, social-democrats, trade-unionists and capitalists on the left versus capitalists, national-syndicalists, latifundists, monarchists and/or “Carlists”  on the right. The left was at least secular and typically virulently anti-clerical and atheist. The right was at least culturally, and typically devotionally, Catholic.   The left abetted a break-up or federalization of the country along regional lines; the right insisted on national unity even at the cost of repressing regional identities.

It is hard to hypothesize what the result would have been had the Republicans won.  Because they were riven by internal strife and advocated federalization there is a good chance that Spain would have simply broken apart or, in the alternative, have been taken over by Stalinist bolshevik cadres which were in the Republican ranks.  The matter is entirely speculative, but republicanism did reflect strong centripetal tendencies.

History does tell us what happened upon the Nationalist victory.  Franco ruthless suppressed all rumors of a left and skillfully played off one rightist faction against the other.  His political vision was that of a pious policeman and his achievement was a pall of quiet in Europe’s most querulous nation. 

What can be seen from this summary but long-view of events is that the present constitutional monarchy is history’s necessary and natural compromise.

The institution of the monarchy satisfies the monarchists and appeases the Army and nationalist tendencies. The government itself is within the post-war spectrum of  European “social-capitalism”.  It gives a de facto primacy to Catholicism and both legal and de-facto autonomy to the regions.  No one is suppressing Catalan or the Basque language or writing their histories and cultures out of the books.  Very serious socio-economic problems confront Spain at the present, as they do the rest of Europe; but the constitutional structure of the State is, as such, sound.  It represents a felicitous compromise to over 200 years of bitter wrangling.

With this perspective in mind, the Republican rallies can be seen for what they are: a massive, immature temper tantrum that insists on what it thinks it wants and on winning (in some merely formal sense) the war it lost.

Anyone who peruses the photographs of the era cannot but notice the pained silence with which Juan Carlos stood for twenty years in Franco’s shadow. In this, he represented his country; and when he emerged from the shadows he led his country not simply “into democracy” but into a resolution of its long internecine divisions.  Whereas Franco maintained nationalism through suppression, the monarchy seeks to offer a point of general convergence which makes room for political and cultural diversity.

El Principe de Asturias comprometiendo dedicarse
 a "una nación, una comunidad social y política unida y diversa".

That was the promise Prince Felipe extended on his first public comment since the abdication.  We wish him well.