Monday, August 28, 2006

Must be MP3 Monday

Here is a cut from the new M. Ward album, a cover of Daniel Johnston's "To Go Home," a rollicking, thrusting (uh huh huh huh) rocker just full of energy. Download it here. You can download the full album on the excellent music site

Muzzle of Bees, one of my favorite MP3 blogs is hosting a new Wilco tune, "There's a Light". Download it here. It's a live cut, but the sound is pretty good.

Also, rbally is an excellent mp3 blog which is heavy on the Wilco.

Bob Dylan - The Levee's Gonna Break

New track from his new album coming out soon. Classic story song, repetition style.

Dowload it here.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Ahem, Reality, please report to the White House

Mr. President said Wednesday that if we left Iraq it would be cutting and running.

He also said, without a hint of irony whatsoever:

"Leaving before we complete our mission would create a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East, a country with huge oil reserves that the terrorist network would be willing to use to extract economic pain from those of us who believe in freedom"


He's referring to Iraq I presume, not Afghanistan. So we're clear: Before our unilateral, unprovoked invasion, Iraq was NOT a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East. Iraq was a lot of bad things (just like Sudan, et. al), but it was not harboring, assisting or fostering terrorists. I get it, it's part of the great neocon strategy. CREATING a terrorist state where there was none before helps us to fight the terrorists. After all, we can only fight them if we create them.

I get it now.....

Geez. Have we triggered an all-out DISASTER or what?

This story in the Guardian is really disconcerting:

"Turkey and Iran have dispatched tanks, artillery and thousands of troops to their frontiers with Iraq during the past few weeks in what appears to be a coordinated effort to disrupt the activities of Kurdish rebel bases."

I think the Kurds are allies with Israel. We're allied with Israel, obviously. So, it's Iran and Turkey and the Shia in Iraq v. Kurds/Israel/U.S.

"Frustrated by the reluctance of the US and the government in Baghdad to crack down on the PKK bases inside Iraq, Turkish generals have hinted they are considering a large-scale military operation across the border. They are said to be sharing intelligence about Kurdish rebel movements with their Iranian counterparts.

"We would not hesitate to take every kind of measures when our security is at stake," Abdullah Gul, the Turkish foreign minister, said last week."

Thanks, Mr. President.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Iraq Disconnect

By all means go read Josh's entire post on this point, it is excellent and gives voice to what I think a majority of Americans sort of know instinctively.

But when revieing the "War on Terror" or Islamofascism or whatever they're calling it these days, ponder this:

Is there anyone in the country who can say honestly, in their heart of hearts, that when that moment of fear hit them after the recent reports out of London, they said to themselves, "God, I'm glad we're in Iraq"?


Friday, August 11, 2006


So approval for the job Bush is doing as President is at 33%. If you turn on the news or listen to the "experts," you're often led to believe that a) opposing the President is politically dangerous and/or b) that if you oppose the war in Iraq (both its existence and execution), then you're part of the "extremist" left, the "wacko" crowd who emboldens or supports the Islamic terrorists behind the most recent foiled (by the British) terror plot.

Well, leaving aside for a second the falsity of that statement (and how often people who have been wrong so many times on matters of foreign policy are allowed to espouse it uncritically in the press), wouldn't any rational person conclude that with the 33% number and the 60% number (from the CNN poll) who oppose the war are clearly the majority now?

So everyone understands, repeat after me:

The recent terror plot, a plan orchestrated by British subjects of Pakistani origin, foiled by British intelligence agencies working in conjunction with law enforcement and US intelligence gathering (all of which was legal and none of which was done in Iraq), has absolutely nothing at all to do with Iraq.

Next, since we have 130k+ troops, other personnel, other intelligence resources, unimaginable $ resources and other tools bogged down in Iraq, the United States is LESS equipped to address, detect, investigate and foil a terrorist plot like the one described above.

Ergo, if you SUPPORT the mission in Iraq, thereby depleting our ability to deal with real threats from terrorists, you necessarily OPPOSE or undermine the effort to foil terrorist plots that pose a real threat to American lives and treasure.


If you support the Iraq war, you enable those terrorists to continue with their plans to attack America. If you oppose the Iraq war and want the US government to direct its attention to real threats like the one recently foiled, then you wish to stop those terrorists in their quests to attack America.


Saw this:

Muslim tipoff 'led to arrests'

LONDON, England (CNN) -- A British intelligence official has told CNN that the original information about a plot to down commercial jetliners in mid-Atlantic with explosives came from a tip from the Muslim community in Britain. The official said the tip resulted from a person who had been concerned about the activities of an acquaintance after the July 7 terror attacks in London.

One other point re: the above. Bush's unilateral, unprovoked invasion of a majority Muslim nation has unquestionably given rise to Anti-American hatred around the world. To the extent the invasion makes it less likely that good people like the tipster above will act to help us thwart attacks, the Iraq debacle has made us less safe.

A reason for optimism?

I saw this post on Kevin Drum's Washington Monthly blog. He argues that the foiling of the English terrorist plot is not, as the mainstream media would have you believe, a cause for alarm but, rather, a cause for hope. This was by all accounts a huge plan, but one that was disrupted (well in advance of execution) using traditional law-enforcement mechanisms and international cooperation. Now in the US we've done what we usually do, overreact, hype up the danger, with endless pieces on the cable news outlets with captions like "Are we as safe as we think we are?" or "Are your children about to be exploded?", and go overboard in our response (NO liquids on planes EVER!!! -- even though we've known this was a possible tactic since at least 1995, when Clinton foiled an attack to explode planes over the Pacific) without ever really digging into the specifics.

Under this backdrop, Kevin Drum makes the following observation:

British and American counterterrorism agencies have been tracking 50 al-Qaeda (or al-Qaeda-ish) terrorists for over a year. They were under intensive surveillance the entire time and never had any chance of pulling off their plans. What's more, the investigation has probably provided us with hundreds or thousands of additional leads to keep tabs on.

I wonder: what lesson will al-Qaeda draw from this? Osama bin Laden may be a religious fanatic, but he's not stupid, and my guess is that he'll conclude that in a post-9/11 security environment it's simply impossible to keep a plot this big a secret. There are too many entry points and too many ways for a single mistake to derail the whole thing.

Bin Laden may be fond of big statements, but I wonder if this failure will convince him and his compatriots to think smaller? Is our future now more likely to be full of lots of little attacks rather than the occasional big one?

These are excellent points. I wonder whether our alarmist media will think to ask them.

Monday, August 07, 2006

That crazy Gore....

So INSANE...How could he have been so reckless, dangerous and just downright loony.....

Let's remember that's EXACTLY what the Bill Kristols of the world were saying when Gore gave this speech:

Relevany portions of Al Gore’s Sept. 23, 2002, speech to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco:

GORE: “To begin with, to put first things first, I believe that we ought to be focusing our efforts first and foremost against those who attacked us on September 11th and who have thus far gotten away with it. The vast majority of those who sponsored, planned and implemented the cold-blooded murder of more than 3,000 Americans are still at large, still neither located nor apprehended, much less punished and neutralized. I do not believe that we should allow ourselves to be distracted from this urgent task simply because it is proving to be more difficult and lengthy than was predicted.

"And, I believe that we are perfectly capable of staying the course in our war against Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, while simultaneously taking those steps necessary to build an international coalition to join us in taking on Saddam Hussein in a timely fashion. If you're going after Jesse James, you ought to organize the posse first, especially if you're in the middle of a gunfight with somebody who's out after you.

"I don't think we should allow anything to diminish our focus on the necessity for avenging the 3,000 Americans who were murdered and dismantling that network of terrorists that we know were responsible for it. The fact that we don't know where they are should not cause us to focus instead on some other enemy whose location may be easier to identify.

"Nevertheless, President Bush is telling us that America's most urgent requirement of the moment right now is not to redouble our efforts against Al Qaida, not to stabilize the nation of Afghanistan after driving his host government from power, even as Al Qaida members slip back across the border to set up in Afghanistan again.

"Rather, he is telling us that our most urgent task right now is to shift our focus and concentrate on immediately launching a new war against Saddam Hussein. And the president is proclaiming a new uniquely American right to preemptively attack whomsoever he may deem represents a potential future threat.

"Moreover, President Bush is demanding, in this high political season, that Congress speedily affirm that he has the necessary authority to proceed immediately against Iraq and, for that matter, under the language of his resolution, against any other nation in the region regardless of subsequent developments or emerging circumstances…..

"Now, here's another of the main points I want to make: If we quickly succeed in a war against the weakened and depleted fourth-rate military of Iraq, and then quickly abandon that nation, as President Bush has quickly abandoned almost all of Afghanistan after defeating a fifth-rate military power there, then the resulting chaos in the aftermath of a military victory in Iraq could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam.

"I believe that we can effectively defend ourselves abroad and at home without dimming our core principles. Indeed, I believe that our success in defending ourselves depends precisely on not giving up what we stand for. We should have as our top priority preserving what America represents and stands for in the world and winning the war against terrorism first.”

Full text here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Israel -- the Neighborhood Bully

Neighborhood Bully - Bob Dylan

Well, the neighborhood bully, he's just one man
His enemies say he's on their land
They got him outnumbered about a million to one
He got no place to escape to, no place to run
He's the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully he just lives to survive
He's criticized and condemned for being alive
He's not supposed to fight back, he's supposed to have thick skin
He's supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in
He's the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land
He's wandered the earth an exiled man
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn
He's always on trial for just being born
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized
Old women condemned him, said he could apologize
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad
The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, the chances are against it, and the odds are slim
That he'll live by the rules that the world makes for him
'Cause there's a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a licence to kill him is given out to every maniac
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, he got no allies to really speak of
What he gets he must pay for, he don't get it out of love
He buys obsolete weapons and he won't be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, he's surrounded by pacifists who all want peace
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease
Now, they wouldn't hurt a fly. To hurt one they would weep
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep
He's the neighborhood bully.

Every empire that's enslaved him is gone
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon
He's made a garden of paradise in the desert sand
In bed with nobody, under no one's command
He's the neighborhood bully.

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon
No contract that he signed was worth that what it was written on
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health
He's the neighborhood bully.

What's anybody indebted to him for ?
Nothing, they say. He just likes to cause war
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed
He's the neighborhood bully.

What has he done to wear so many scars ?
Does he change the course of rivers ? Does he pollute the moon and stars ?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill
Running out the clock, time standing still
Neighborhood bully.