Thursday, August 31, 2006


So it was a relief to not see Iran in the web-news this morning. Anywhere. As in nowhere to be found. I've had my own wacky ideas on what's going on behind the kabuki shades, but I went over to where the wonkish people go, you know, in order to confirm my views. But first, before going to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where I knew the ever-reliable soothsayer Anthony Cordesman, that delphic oracle, would have something risk-free yet salesworthy to say, I blew 20 minutes looking for Condi in a bikini. C'mon, you knew she had to be in there somewhere, right? Thar she blows in her next negotiating outfit. Now just compare that delightful eyeful to the title of Cordesman's article, "Iranian Nuclear Weapons? Options for Sanctions and Military Strikes," and you'll make the right choice.

What's really going on is that Condi has the Preznit's ear, and is preaching the message of sanctions buy-in. She's sent her very capable and sane under-lackey Nick Burns to talk with the other Security Council reps, and it's his job to keep a sanctions package in the realm of what's doable, and dangle the Nuclear Franchise Package (we build the power plants, you give the money, like India just got only better) a little more appealingly under Iran's nose. Burns is saying to his diplomat buddies, "You don't know what it's like, man. These people are in-saaane! Rummy and Cheney are wearing black hoods and running around the Pentagon with light sabers! We've got to make a deal while there's still time." The real negotiation is with the Russians, and Burns has to convince them to go along with sanctions that can be sold back here. As a signal to what's going on, the US granted a visa to former Iranian moderate President Khatami, who's coming to D.C. for tea on September 7th. Take a wild guess at who he'll be meeting with. (Thus this morning's Condi graphic.)

Meanwhile, Rummy and Cheney really ARE wearing black hoods and running around the Pentagon with light sabers. Pausing occasionally to suck down some more nitrous oxide. Rummy and Dickie, if you or your minions ever read this, remember: Iran's mullahs could let your oil companies in just for the satisfaction of nationalizing them. Again. Out of nostalgia for the good old days.

If you're not willing to accept all this for the prescient gospel it is, go over and check out Steve Clemons at his excellent policy blog, The Washington Note (

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Iran: terrorist theocracy, or misunderstood genius? Discuss.

So much for the warm fuzzies. Tomorrow morning is the United Nations' deadline for Iran to halt enrichment of uranium. One wing of the Security Council, otherwise known as the US wing, has its undies in a bunch over the enrichment thing, since that's the stuff to use in nuclear weapons. If Iran doesn't comply, the U.N. could impose economic and diplomatic sanctions. Alternatively, the UN could do nothing, especially since China and Russia also happen to sit on the Security Council and have both been passing notes to Iran in class which say things like, "Bolton is SUCH an ASS.'ve got a really nice ass. I got a present for you. When class ends, get a hall pass and meet me out behind the practice field."

So a lot could happen tomorrow. Everything from John Bolt-on strapping a cruise missile onto his ass and riding it into Tehran like General Bat Guano did in Dr. Strangelove, only less subdued, all the way over to Iran saying, no, no, it was just in the spirit of good negotiating: "We found an old copy of 'Looking Out For #1' a while back and were trying out some of Robert J. Ringer's ideas. Please, let's sit down and talk." For all I know Lot's wife could look back at Gomorrah tomorrow and turn into a pillar of salt. Fox News could start condemning floral arrangements as muslim threats. Those things, and all points between may manifest. But let's not forget, Iran is OPEC's 4th-largest oil producer--which I suppose rational behavior whatsoever.

Heaven help us, and my remaining put options.

Their Talents Did Not Die

We live in an enormously complex society full of moving, often wasteful parts, even the poor amongst us shielded from nature outside and within. One person may take offense over thong underwear, another might draw a gun over a sloppily enunciated diphthong, each while missing the import of a Kevlar windmill about to hit them on the head. Whereas I can find all three things quite charming, in a synthetic environment it's good to back up for some perspective, and even TV commercial breaks are still long enough to allow for some level of communion with our better selves.

So here's perspective, 30,000 years of it. Someone in a cave up in the Swabian Alps (the Black Forest) carved the loon above out of ivory, back when language was still emerging. Someone with excellent vision, patience, and uncommon aptitude; it's only about as big as the tip of your pinky, and you can see where, once, wings were attached. Perhaps mobile wings. It pre-dates the paintings in the Lascaux caves by at least 5,000 years.

Whether religious talisman or child's plaything, whether carved by human or Neanderthal, no one knows. There are scholarly arguments over whether it represents a loon, a duck, or a cormorant. But Albrecht Duerer never painted more beautifully and faithfully than this was riven by forgotten means, and the artist perfectly captured the essence of a water fowl triumphantly straining and levering forward, rising up above the water. I fancy it was a man, a hunter and admirer of birds, who froze its flight in time. Or it might've been a grandmother who painstakingly crafted her own version of virtual reality for a favored child. In making it, he or she must have pondered the nature of wings and flying, with the wonder and longing such consideration implies. If there is one object on all the earth I covet, you're looking at it.

Sometimes when I'm down over the tortures, murders, lies, evils and ridiculous follies our race is capable of, I think about this carving. There's not a doubt in my mind that whoever shaped it was a being of love and talent and promise, in such palpable abundance that I feel their presence. Their awesome, all-enduring intelligence. We are from them, proudly, and our human endeavor will have been worth it even should we end, or ultimately fail to find audacious ways back to god our creator. This little chip of horn whispers, "You need not fail."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Speaking of Fartacus, there was a great poll on CNN today. The question was, "Who would win a debate on world issues between President Bush and Iranian President Ahmadinejad?" As of about noon eastern time this morning, with just under 4000 votes in, twice as many people thought the little man from Iran would win (67% to 33%).

Mr. A trotted out today for his own presser, noting that the UN Security Council doesn't have the right to tell Iran to stop enriching fuel. Amazingly enough, that is a true statement. Now, I know international law doesn't matter anymore, but Iran is a signatory of the UN's own Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT. (See The whole point of the treaty was to get third world countries to sign it and promise not to use or develop nuclear weapons; in exchange, they got the approval to use nuclear power, and even to enrich uranium. It would make me go all perky if someone in the Main Vein Media would occasionally mention this minor detail.


Somebody over on FDL started referring to Bush as "Fartacus" this morning, a reference to the recent article about the Preznit's extraordinary yet somehow unsurprising fondness for all things flatulent. As monikers go, I really like that one, so am doing my part to "pass," even egg, it on. The hyphenated title under the picture is a reference to the Hollywood remake of the French hit comedy "La Cage Aux Folles" which IIRC was called The Bird Cage, starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. Anyhow if you saw that light yet enjoyable fare, you'll surely remember Hank Azaria's over-the-top portrayal of a gay nightclub queen pressed into service as emergency domestic help; his new masters claimed he was Greek and introduced him to future in-laws as their butler, "Augustus-Spartacus." Comedic chaos ensues.

(Graphic courtesy of Doonesbury by Gary Trudeau)

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Slaves used to be energy. Just ask the South. That's why it fought so hard to keep them in the Civil War. Their economy was based on the energy of slaves; without slaves, there would've been no big cheap cotton crops to build up humming textile mills in the North and in Europe. And there are few old Romans around anymore to ask, but if you look it up you'll find Rome may as well of had a "Slaves Inside" brand-stickie on it. Here's how many slaves Rome had: Romans knew about the water wheel and used lots of them, only they didn't use the gravity of falling water to freely propel them: rather, they used slaves like gerbils to pump the water upwards. I know that doesn't make sense, but it doesn't make sense that a gallon of gasoline costs less than a gallon of milk, either. Oil inverts everyone's thinking like slavery did. Oil is dying, like slavery did.

Still, it's not going easy, and there's this quaint little old German emigrant, heavy accent, rich, charming, and still around; he's myopic and sits on all sorts of boards that steer big companies and the world. You might've heard of him. Here's what he had to say about energy:

"Control energy and you control the nations."
--Henry Kissinger

I'd ask Mr. Kissinger about slavery in the post-oil age but am scared at what he might say. Whether it be oil or slaves, coal or trees or whales, at some point controlling (dominating) the energy gets to be a bitch. Nations and peoples are often jealous, protective of their own persons and their families, and the task of maintaining control on into times of increasing scarcity starts to be the source of much anxiety and expense. Ask the South. Read about the Romans. Ask Dick Cheney, if you can find him by the scent of his fear. The American Empire is now the proverbial chimp trapped in the cookie jar's implacable vise, the chimp's hand on the delicious cookie inside, unable to let go. We're going bankrupt, but tighten our grip on the oil anyway. Control of oil by the US is over.

Our society isn't thinking right yet, because it's like a very rich man with Alzheimer's, old and mean and addled, but our society is staring down a barrel. As my friend Valeo remarked to me more than 15 years ago, "You know why we're not investing in solar energy? Because nobody owns the sun." That's right. No one owns the wind, no one owns the tides, and no one owns the sun, and reigning economic theory is based on the philosophical concept of the Tragedy of the Commons. There's a new trade wind blowing, and it will bring a Triumph of the Commons. It's not about idealism, far be it from's about new technology and the spirit of Free Ride. The same Bilderberg Group which Henry Kissinger so dutifully attends might be calling the next system of investment "Better Energy," and coincidentally that same elite can make scads and scads and scads of money off of it. Whether they choose to or not, it's now become much cheaper for my government to give me and my restless countrymen solar panels, solar windows, wind turbines, and books on gardening (with some Archer Daniels Midland GMO seeds) than it is to try to maintain control over the world's oil. There's not much to wait for but the default notice on US bonds.

So cough up, ye elite! Let go of the cookie, and keep us in your program for once, just once. Raise high the roofbeams, carpenters, to bring back your Eagle Scouts before we leave this place. Look to photosynthesis and for that matter to sprouts, because your old-fashioned trench-warfare games are done. Today, as for me and my house, we want to serve the wind, the waves, and the sun.

(Graphic is supposedly of an Orion Slave Auction, courtesy of Star Trek. But I bet it's a candid shot from an Apple product release party.)

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Does your country have post offices? Traffic laws? Do you pay taxes, or are you benefitting from them in any way? Then it is my duty to inform you that you're a stinking socialist. That's right, me pinko. Unless you're prepared to step outside the rule of your prissy laws and take personal responsibility for everything, stop paying your taxes and be imprisoned, you may as well be sending your money to the Karl Marx foundation.

Now, some people get all evasive, argue over it and try to split hairs. But that's pathetic. Let's end the denial, square up and deal with the questions honestly. Merchantile capitalism? Socialism that steals money from taxpayers and gives fabulous amounts of it a few privileged friends. Democracy? Same thing. Nazism (National Socialism, get it?)? Same thing again. Communism? Socialism very similar to merchantile capitalism, but also functions as the state religion. Dictatorial regimes? Dangerously paranoid socialism prone to violent outbursts but sometimes more willing to share the wealth for ego gratification (see "Hurricane Hugo" post below). Anarcho-syndicalist communes? Socialism that's fun for awhile until the meetings become unbearable. Scandinavia? It's just trying to confuse people by taking a deeply flawed system seriously, and will collapse any year now.

So I don't want to hear a lot of whining about commies or how your government or mine is better than anyone else's. Unless you're in prison for tax evasion, then you have my undying respect. Like my main man, Lyndon LaRouche.


Chavez has yet another deal with China to sell it his oil. Which is really our oil, or at least it was when we had leaders who knew how to keep those lazy, lazy South Americans and their dictators in line. Even worse, most of the 1 million barrels per day China plans to rape from our hemisphere is currently undersea, sitting there all pristine and undisturbed, even if it does have a little sulfur in it. According to the article, those fiendish devils think they're going to drill offshore:

'As well as a joint refinery project, Venezuela's state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, has announced in the past week that China will build 13 oil drilling platforms, supply 18 oil tankers and collaborate in the exploration of a new heavy oil field in the Orinoco Belt.'

Holy cow. If you happen to be an oil man and you're also white, this one has to hurt. In fact, a very senior White House official was quoted anonymously as saying, "It will be a cold day in hell before we let those slant-eyed (expletive deleted) get one black (expletives deleted) drop up out of the Orinoco (expletives deleted) basin. We'll blow those offshore rigs to motherfucking smithereens first, make no mistake, wa-ha-hahahaha!" Well, even so, maybe it's time to get one of those 10,000 gallon furnace tanks, dig it down deep into my backyard, and fill it with heating oil.

Full article at:,,1858764,00.html

(Graphic is of burning Iranian oil platforms in the Sirri and Sassan oil fields, shelled by US warships during Operation Praying Mantis on April 18, 1988 in support of Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War.)

Friday, August 25, 2006


When the Hezbollah militia fought the Israeli ground forces to a standstill in Lebanon last month, it was the military equivalent of Jackie Robinson joining the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946. Only the game which has opened up is the fate of nations, and their home-grown militia is now being called the "Hezbollah Army" (HA) by military analysts. Talk about an upgrade, and the Hezbollah imprimatur will be stamped on much more than Israeli ass. Militias across the world will be inspired by, and will copy, the tactics which led to their victory, and new militias will form and be organized along similar lines. So how did they do it?

First, Hezbollah built tremendous long-term goodwill amongst the populace by engaging in charity, giving people food, rebuilding housing and infrastructure the last time Israel came in to wreck stuff. And they kept doing good works to become not just part of the social fabric, but the framework of social organization in southern Lebanon. As soon as this cease-fire was declared, they give everyone whose housing was destroyed $12,000. This explains in part the high morale and the commitment of their fighters which were the most basic element of victory. But they did something much more innovative, even fascinating, and of longer term importance in military history. They beat what was purportedly the best standing army in the world, and they did it by combining common-sense use of new technology with sound military strategy and excellent preparation to achieve a strange force multiplier effect that isn't yet completely understood. Because if it were understood, Israel would've won. But I think they figured out how to achieve a force dispersion multiplier effect on the modern battlefield. In plainer English, they achieved something like what Colonial militias did against Redcoats in the American Revolutionary War. Below is my first attempt at analysis.

If employed correctly, force dispersion can become a force multiplier, as
the Hezbollah Army (HA) just demonstrated in
Lebanon. Part of the defenders' operational success
against the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) was
undoubtedly due to the increasing effectiveness and
proliferation of cheap LOS/LOF/IED tactical force projection
devices against high-value ground or air targets (a
trend likely to further accelerate). However much
of the HA's effectiveness should be attributed to good
force discipline, application of fairly sophisticated
command and control techniques, and making the best of
a defender's natural intelligence advantage. Yet each of these
in turn would probably have been much less effective
if not based in exceptionally well-prepared and
concealed underground bunkers.

The strategy employed
appears similar to one by ants vs. elephants. Ants
cannot stop elephants in their tracks, but they can
deny full ownership of territory, even channel an elephant
advance by converging to attack an offending elephant's
orifices, quickly dispersing back into anthills once
the animal moves out of a convergence zone. If the
elephant fails to retreat quickly enough, the
converging ants reach critical mass and the elephant goes crazy from pain,
loses its ability to effectively retreat and eventually is eaten alive.
Regardless of metaphor, the IDF failed to fully secure
significant ground in Lebanon, and was thrown back
repeatedly from stated objectives it had meticulously
wargamed over for at least 5 years.

The defense of Lebanon
could be termed "one cell, many bunkers." It
apparently relied heavilyy upon the principle of
defense in depth, creating flank exposure
opportunities by conserving formations in deep bunkers
while motorized columns passed either unmolested or
lightly opposed on the road/trail network. Fresh
formations, perhaps up to platoon-sized, would emerge
to briefly re-infiltrate the battlefield for
hit-and-run ambushes and even sometimes for more
protracted engagements. In the future, a similar
cell-and-bunker technique might also be employed in
hidden militia-driven offensive efforts to infiltrate
and gradually take control of ground over time, for
example in Palestine. For the present, IDF prospects
for dislodging or defeating HA forces appear dim; even
if its maximum conventional means were employed, IDF
losses might be correspondingly high, and budgetary
expenses surely would be so.

It is true that side-scanning radar to expose bunkers,
mines, and IEDs would be helpful. Nonetheless an array
of widely available fundamental technology
developments have conspired to put blitzkrieg on the
wane and militia on the rise, one elephant is a very
expensive organism whereas an ant is comparatively
quite cheap, and for the immediate term formation
movements must adapt accordingly. In order to
protect high-value weapons, infantry must move out
well in front them.

It is now technically feasible for a 13-year old with
an internet connection to launch and control an
unmanned aerial vehicle or cruise missile, or fire a
wire-guided missile, from his or her bedroom. Against
this technology backdrop, armor is not a good
investment; it can be expected that helicopters will
become more and more operationally vulnerable, perhaps
being relegated to stand-off weapons best deployed in
well-secured areas or from shoot-and-scoot forward

Due to the demonstrably increasing proliferation of
cost-effective countermeasures of local or regional
manufacture, securing ground for deployment of armor,
helicopter, and eventually close fixed-wing air
support should require more intensive and thorough
battlefield preparation. If Lebanon provides a
tactical model, achieving required levels of security
may largely be a function of locating, overwhelming,
and destroying Lebanon-style bunkers in order to drive
corresponding cells above ground where they can be
eliminated with existing stand-off weapons systems.
This might also include house-to-house searches and
temporary but humane removal of the local populace to
a secured camp. Appropriate tactics and weapons should
be developed with such objectives in mind, with an eye
to cost reduction, or elimination, of some currently deployed
weapons systems.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


And they're united in that hatred with Muslims. Long story short, Christians in Lebanon have a very dim view of the US, according to a recent and damning poll done there between July 24th and 26th by the Beirut Center for Research and Information. (You can find the poll results here at .) Seems they don't like getting bombed almost as much as Sunnis and Shiites dislike it. Of course, it just goes to show: the only thing Christians understand is force.

It's almost difficult to believe these poll numbers for their degree of agreement; Christians, Druze, Shiites and Sunnis substantially agree on key questions relating to the conduct of the war, and on Israeli and American roles in it. 80.3% of Christians supported Hezbollah's resistance against Israel, and even 54.7% supported taking two Israeli soldiers as hostages. In response to the question, "Do you believe that the United States plays the role of the honest mediator in this war?," 85% of Christians polled answered, 'No,' only 11% lower than the negative Shiite response. That's BAAAAD, folks. I mean, it's not bad that Muslims and Christians agree on something, rather it's a bad sign, an undeniably concrete measure of a foreign policy that's rolling around in the toilet like a disease-ridden turd.

Admittedly, the unfortunate odors of US policy are rather open secrets now. Still I'm surprised over this data. The results don't convey the picture of a country that's about to fall apart from inherent religious and political divisions. Not at all. You almost get the feel of a country that's in the midst of uniting and maturing.

You'd think it would be news.

(Hat tip to Pat Lang for posting the survey on his blog Sic Semper Tyrannis.)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


API Headline: Venezuela plans to export oil to China

Wow. There's a shocker for you. Hugo Chavez is taking more steps to diversify both his customer base for oil and his ability to strike fear into the hearts of our great leaders in DC. He's quoted in this article Venezuela will be sending off half a million barrels a day to China in the next five years, and implies the output will come as a result of further development. "The oil issue is of utmost importance because we are diversifying the petroleum business. We are moving toward a new petroleum model."

Chavez doesn't say the exports will directly come from development, nor does he mention dollar amounts he's getting for any new production or supply agreements, presuming they exist. But I would watch for upcoming Venezuelan weapons system purchases, particularly for effective shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. And it also wouldn't be too surprising if the jet Chavez travels on were to suddenly disappear off the radar out in international waters, not that such a development could fundamentally alter the internal dynamics or direction of Venezuelan, or current South American, politics. Much as it might make certain people feel better, killing Chavez isn't a great idea, and antagonizing him any further is even worse. Dead or alive, Chavez is a far greater threat to US imperial security than Iran is on its nastiest day.


I was out with my friend Tom S. last night, and amongst the fun and full disclosure, I admitted to blogging. (As if I've ever had a strong enough opinion to let others know about it. Ha! OK, this is a really big step in my self-assertiveness therapy.) Then I said how I wanted another name for my blog, something more marketable like maybe "Low, Low Mortgage Rates" or "Britney's Ass Cleavage." Adored By Hordes is just a catchy turn of phrase, and let's face it, I'm hardly adored by hordes. A few people seem to put up with me, a few blood relatives acknowledge me, and that's about all I can ask for. Yesterday I tried to re-name it "One Nation, Under Surveillance," but blogger has already got all permutations of that reserved. Go figure. Anyhow, it was on my mind, so I asked Tom for suggestions. Without missing a beat, he suggested "Caravanserai." Translated from the original Persian, it means "Caravan Palace." Not bad; not bad. An inn on the camel path with an enclosed courtyard. We'll just see what blogger has to say about that one...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Tony. Tony! Toe-nnneee!!

The cravenly named "Long War" is at a critical juncture, and the consequences of Israel's "difficulties" in Lebanon have been almost immediate. There are numerous signs the Europeans are carefully backing away from the US stance viz disarming Lebanese Hezbollah. Which indicates they don't want Iran attacked, nor yet even encircled, despite being subjected to constant, daily variations on the neo-twit theme of "Do you want to be cut in on the oil, or not?" European history doesn't seem overly replete with moral qualms on resource extraction through violence, so the lack of enthusiasm is probably due to serious doubts over Israel's ability to successfully take on Syria as the last gap in the chain encircling Iran. Add to that even bigger fears of getting dragged into the losing end of a larger conflict if they put troops on the ground in Lebanon, whether via the UN or NATO.

I've been hanging out a lot at retired DIA Colonel Pat Lang's excellent defense intelligence blog "Sic Semper Tyrannis" (, and this morning a commenter named Altoid observed in a discussion how "if that's right," i.e., if the Europeans have truly decided to withhold political cover from the US & Israel, "there will be unbelievable pressure over the next month or so to get rid of Blair." Altoid's flash of insight seems dead-on. Note to self: Watch Blair. Lots of people want to make him pay for his support of Bush, and his political status is a good barometer of how the Long War will go forward. If Blair goes down in the next month or two, it may be a sign Europe as a whole (as in including British Petroleum) may begin to engage in more active rapprochement with Russia and China. And it's certainly a sign that European support for the Long War, which depends a great deal on the US ability to execute its schemes, will go from being a tough sell to losing key accounts.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Headline: U.S. resolution would disarm Hezbollah

Ahh, coo-coo-cah-choo, so here we have Cheney's plan to block and agonize the UN, the day following Kofi Annan's pronouncement that Israel has already violated the cease-fire. (Hey, it was just one little commando assassin squad and a couple of missiles! Just keeping dem on deir toes!) It's not a bad plan...knowing that Hezbollah can't be disarmed, Bolton demands it anyway and hangs responsibility on the UN:

I'm really not up on my UN mechanics, but it seems like this clause will scuttle the resolution, which hasn't looked great up until now. For example, France, the main source of the envisioned UNIFIL occupation troops, keeps asking, "When do we get to kill Israelis?" with an insistence and enthusiasm some Israeli soldiers may find annoying. Particularly given the percentage of Islamic soldiers in the French army these days.

Not sure what Cheney's real angle is here through Bolton, but if we had to bet on it, I'd say the idea is to have NATO occupy Lebanon. You know, like NATO just did in Afghanistan:

Not rocket science, just part of closing the ring around Iran and preparing ground positions against our enemy in the region, the Shaghai Co-operation Organization (SCO). (Never heard of it? Stop watching the news, dumbass. We've got the web!) Even better, Mr. Cheney, why not just induct Israel into NATO? Oh, right, you're way ahead of us again, you sly dog:

Nato-Israel partnership boosted

Does Israel Belong in the EU and NATO?

Israel signs security agreement with NATO (2001)


I've been worried about Condi, who has not been publicly seen nor heard from (by me, anyway) since Israel and Lebanon hurt her feelings by listening more to Dick Cheney than to her. To the outside world, this little tiff looked like a senseless war that mostly killed women and children with bombs, but it simply means that Israel decided to keep their Cheney Certification current. So I started a vigil for Condi. Actually it started out as a hunger strike, because I could stand to lose a few score pounds, but hunger strikes don't cover drinking; so when I got pretty blitzed with my old friend Valeo the first night of the strike, I went ahead and had the plate of 6 fabulous ahi tuna recipes at Etta's Seafood ( . "What the hell," was my blurred thinking at the time, "I can just turn it into a Condi Vigil."

I feared that Condi might've gone on a vacation to the Caribbean or even departed to the Hamptons early, or maybe curled up in a depressive, suicidal funk while mending her exhausted ego in a mud bath at an exclusive desert resort spa. Either way, her absence left our imperiled nation with a yawning spokesleader gap at a crucial time, but she must have been in tatters from her impressive albeit doomed shuttle diplomacy. She would never shirk her duties as champion of our ship of state unless she were really sad, or plotting necessary revenge. Well, as it turns out I've been worrying over nothing for the past five excruciating days, and have wasted a lot of candles, which my wife always seems to have scads of but which are not cheap anymore. You can go through a hundred bucks worth of candles like you wouldn't believe. Fortunately, Condi has been busy, and my vigil was not in vain:

By Condoleezza Rice
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

For the past month the United States has worked urgently to end the violence that Hezbollah and its sponsors have imposed on the people of Lebanon and Israel.'

There's a lot of other stuff in the article, which goes on into largely needless detail and considerately repeats key points for the slow-witted, but don't bother looking for it because that first sentence says it all. This is Condi back at her best, back to full speed with the artful, almost breathlessly quotidian level of eloquence we've come to expect from her and her hard-working team of speech writers. The limbic part of me had a difficult moment as my gag reflex was triggered, but I dared not indulge in Jon Schwartz's reaction over at Tiny Revolutions ( ):

'...all righty now, let me just reach for my bucket, and—

Huh. You know, usually you feel much better after throwing up. I wonder why...wait, hold on, there's mo—


No, Jon, Condi is a national treasure. Vomit if you must, but she has raised diplomacy to a new art form, equal in its own way to Talleyrand or Bismarck at their best. Look back at that first sentence, and behold its genius: it's nothing less than Condivellian. It says "I worked my ass off" and "We greatly appreciate your call and hope to be with you shortly" both at the same time, with an impeccably wronged "Don't Cry For Me, Pat Buchanan" stiff upper lip thrown in, all while exuding just the right air of blunt, unpanicked dryness to let the reader know nothing has changed. I would venture to say that Condi has built upon her previous work to achieve a real breakthrough here; depending on how things go, historians may come to term her trademark style "Diva Diplomacy," or perhaps "The Diplomacy of Denial." We shall overcome, Condi. We shall overcome.

(Graphic courtesy of George HW Bush Presidential Library)

Sunday, August 20, 2006


This article is an early confirmation the Peroxide Plot was largely a case of wishful thinking. If the Pakis can't make charges stick on the supposed ringleader, Abdul Rauf, and the Brits can't even force his extradition from Pakistan, you've got to wonder how the rest of it will go. I know it'll be hard, but maybe the Brits can bring themselves to stop arresting people on suspicion in the middle of the night for a while. Not saying there's no substance at all in the arrests--maybe one or more people really did want to do something and hate us for our freedoms--just saying they weren't a serious threat at that point, the police went off half-cocked, and it's been blown way out of proportion. Apparently interrogators in Pakistan agree with my hunch.
Wonko the Sane

Scott Atran, the author of the NYT Op-Ed below, has a personal web site chock full of resources and analysis. I've been poking around on it this morning, and any person or organization contemplating the true nature of the terrorist threat would do well to read it. His home page is at:
Voices of Levantine Reason and the Greatest Organization of All Time

A wise, well-traveled scientist named Scott Atran got an important piece into the New York Times on Thursday. It's an early antidote to the hate-mongering still being doled out as standard fare by our quasi-elected masters, and maybe just maybe a hopeful sign. Full article is at .

Palestine recognizes its newly strengthened position and is sending unambiguous signals: "We are ready to deal." An enraged, frustrated Israel is bogged down in Lebanon and Gaza. Most global elites have washed their hands of the Bush Administration, are probably mustering the strength to end it, and are desperately looking for solutions before the world goes up in flames. So get a load of the coded language Haniyah, Palestine's new Hamas Prime Minister, aims straight at the heart of the neo-cons:

'Prime Minister Haniya’s position comes down to this: “We need you, as you need us.” For the United States and Europe, the stakes are also high. Mr. Haniya wants Americans and Europeans to recognize that the region has welcomed Hamas’s election to power as a genuine exercise in democracy.

If America were to engage his government, he believes, it would be the West’s best opportunity to reverse its steep decline in the esteem of Arabs and Muslims everywhere. “We need a dialogue of civilizations,” he said, “not a clash of civilizations.”'

High stakes. Genuine democracy. West in steep decline. A dialogue of civilizations, not a clash. Clear enough? Mr. Atran doesn't think so. Better send another salvo in the next paragraph, better make it wire-guided:

'This month President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, warned that continued Middle East hostilities involving Israel “will radicalize the Muslim world, even those of us who are moderate today. From there, it will be just one step away to that ultimate nightmare: a clash of civilizations.”'

Very neat. For any normal people who may have wandered in here by mistake, these leaders are making a careful reference to an influential 1993 article in Foreign Affairs by Samuel P. Huntington, which eventually became a 1996 book, 'The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.' Huntington is to neo-cons what Julia Child was to French cuisine. Basically, the clash of civilizations is short-hand for a well-constructed but myopic politico-analytical framework which boils down to this: "white people are special. There are many more tinted people than white people. The tinted people are breeding much faster than white people. Hold me, for I am very afraid. Now go kill lots of tinted people."

Huntington's highly refined racism and fear served to further intellectualize excuses for repeated applications of savage, shameful, and obviously ineffective race-based neo-con policy. Now leaders of Islamic nations are finally using ju-jitsu on his meme, and their moves will not be lost on powerful people who can get things done. Trouble is, the Greatest Organization Of All Time (GOAT) does not negotiate unless it does so in bad faith, so there is no legitimate reason for optimism in the Mideast until it is sacrificed. You can bet your sweet bippy GOAT is continuing, pathetically, to incite Israel, and has probably devolved to motivating it with threats. It's Sunday morning, after all. If Bill Kristol hasn't been stoned to death by a street mob yet, he's probably running his venomous yap on Fox-Pravda and calling for preventive nuclear strikes on Beijing.

To end on a note of optimism, all the elements needed for a two-state solution exist now that Israel has been stalemated, and Israel is not half as crazy or tough as the neocons wish it to be. The pit bull is bleeding for all the world to see. At this point, the scales must have fallen off many eyes which can now see the ways of BushCo are bat-shit stupid. The possibility remains they'll also take a long look at the roots of their most recent screw-ups and do something smart instead of blindly, impotently launching yet more missiles. Walk towards the light, you ignorant dweebs.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Hezbollah, having officially won the Miss Pan-Arabia pageant by humiliating Israel, has donations pouring in not just from Iran, but from all over the Islamic world. They're already sluicing the cement for brand new bridges and apartment buildings, probably much nicer ones than the Israelis blew up. As of this tenuous moment, the only fighting going on in Lebanon is over rights to movie and endorsement deals for the Second Lebanon War. Meanwhile our pollyanna press is conspicuously not pointing out this fact: when Lebanon became a democracy, the press let every neo-twit shout it from a rooftop as an epochal event--one marking the beginning of more democracies and a peace which would sweep through the region. "We make elections," as Dubya hisself put it. At the time of that early Bush Doctrine victory, few questioned the wisdom of spreading democracy in the Mideast, and even a simple question like "who would they vote for?" was evidently too rude for public countenance.

Such votes allowed Hezbollah to become a well-represented political party, and it has either won or controls 35 seats in the Lebanese parliament. Come next elections in Lebanon you might well expect them to win a majority. Presto-change-o, Hezbollah isn't a terrorist organization any more; it's a real political party, perhaps to be a government. More recently in Palestine, the militant Hamas organization underwent a similar makeover. Actually, metamorphosis is a better word. The neo-twits have proved out right about one thing, power resides in the democratic process, and it seems to be repeatable. The smartest thing the Irish Republican Army ever did was finally form a chrysalis around its thugs, glue them to a solid object and wait for the Sinn Fein Party to emerge as a victorious butterfly.

Awhile back I read a book by Victor Davis Hanson, one of the neo-twits' leading intellectual lights. And I say that without irony. (See .) The book was called 'Carnage and Culture,' and surprisingly, unlike every other of similar agenda I've ever touched, it was a serious work with well-founded premises. Even more surprisingly, I enjoyed it. Usually reading neo-twit screeds are like a trip to the dentist, a sadistic dentist with bad teeth and rusty instruments, a real incompetent butcher who chain smokes, laughs maniacally and won't stop himself. Kind of like Steve Martin's portrayal of a dentist in Little Shop of Horrors. Forgive me, I'm raving again. It's just that I made the mistake of buying Francis Fukuyama's 'The End of History and the Last Man' when it came out, at full price with sales tax, and have yet to get over the ensuing trauma. Maybe if his blithering puffery hadn't been taken seriously for the past ten years.

Anyhow, Hanson argues that when it comes to war, democracies play for keeps. Unlike other governmental forms, democracies publicly debate the decision to go to war, and when they go, they immediately risk their political existence. No small risk for an elected official. Democracies are thus far more effective than other systems, he argues, because they are willing to take and inflict higher losses, enjoy greater cohesion for the conflict's duration, and they don't give up easily. While you can take a good snipe at his argument, and not all history (especially recent history, like in our own country) holds true to his key premise, war is full of fairly serious matters and debating them amongst all stakeholders beforehand is an excellent idea. For example I expect that Hezbollah must have debated and prepared very thoroughly for this last war. As one Israeli soldier remarked with amazement on his return from some of the early fighting around Bin Jbail: "They're not scared of us!" The most lethal of all wars, Hanson notes, is when one democracy fights another, and nothing less than a miracle will preserve the cease-fire between Israel and Lebanon.

So now, having got what it wanted, why is the Bush Administration trying to kill its political offspring? They should be happy. Some people you just can't make happy. Sure, these terrorist organizations are enmeshed into governments, and that's too bad. Deal with it. In fact, why not deal with them as the political realities they've become? They want to sit down at a quiet table and discuss matters, and all the Bushies have to do for once in their fucking lives is be reasonable, compromise, and cut their losses like mature adults. Then they could play a deep game of containment against Pan-Arabism, like Eisenhower did with Nasser when corporate elites were calling for nukes over losing the Suez Canal. You remember, back in '56.

Oh, and one last thing: you can bet every remaining non-democratic government in the region, having been unceasingly yammered at by Bushbots to become democracies, are saying sage things like, "Condi, now you see who these crazy bastards will elect as soon as we take the lid off this place. It'll make Lebanon seem like Wimbledon." Ever wonder what Egypt or Saudi Arabia would look like as a democracy? Like Bin Laden's dream.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The New Church of England?

'...Waheed was a gentle person who never wished harm to anyone. "He was the last person anyone would ever suspect," another youth said.' (3 British Suspects Converted to Islam:

Brian Young. Oliver Savant. Don Stewart-Whyte. At least three of the suspects in the alleged peroxide-bomb plot were converts to Islam, the last-named became Abdul Waheed and hailed from High Wycombe. Back in the late 1980s I went there on business a few times, and although only about 25 miles up from London, it was so genteel a place it wouldn't have seemed odd to see Sherlock Holmes stalking down the street smoking a Meerschaum pipe with Doctor Watson trailing behind him. Now around High Wycombe, hundreds of coppers are combing through the stands of trees, down on their hands and knees, turning over twigs and leaves to search for bomb kits.

It's not like these converts joined the Muslim Brothers in prison, either, rather they were typical young British men. Some might see this as proof of a sinister Al-Qaeda plan to infiltrate Western society from within by targeting pale waspish youth and grooming them into undetectable terrorists. (Say, maybe that's what the Young Republicans were all about...) For all I know, that may be. But it's not too difficult to imagine that these particular converts joined a new religion and even, perhaps, terrorist cells out of alienated boredom or a desire to find some spiritual meaning. If Islam is gaining traction with typical brit-kids, it says a great deal about the soul-sucking irrelevant vacuousness known as Church of England. Maybe it's time they started trying to practise a little real Christianity again before Islam becomes the state religion. The same goes for the rabble-rousing hate-filled Taliban that's running loose in America and passing itself off as Christian. And here's what Christ had to say on those subjects:

"Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:20-23)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

M'sieu, Aduanon Kovershim Angam Bitte

(Translation: "Sir, please come with me immediately." From the movie 'Blade Runner.')

This is it, today's the future, I've disappeared through the skylight, sucked out into the bloggy matrix that's devouring mankind. Here's the thing: bored Muslim housewives in the UK had a huge terror plot going, and it was broken up by fantastic surveillance work this month in order to make my family's air travels even more hellish than normal. Naturally, I assumed it was mostly Orwellian hogwash. Having finally recuperated from my newly restricted airline travel experience, one which began with an "SSSS" search for my wife and went downhill from there, I got round to googling the latest terror hubbub. It took me all of 8 minutes to find, among other things, this article by Craig Murray noting the glaring inconsistencies in the official terror narrative.

That information at my fingertips, in turn, was enough to finally send me over to blogger to set up an account. I'm one more little person who knows, and who knows on the record.

Mr. Murray left his day job as Britain's ambassador to an oil-laden CIA torture-drop in the heart of Trashkanistan. Seems there was stuff so interesting going down there he had to screw up his foreign service pension and go write a book about it. Which I didn't read, of course, but my guess is he knows whereof he speaks. So, yeah. The latest terror scare is a load of crap. Why? Oh, I dunno, Let's try using brains the Almighty gave us...

Terrorists need passports if they're going to get on international flights and actually blow them up. No passport, no fly. No passport, no plot. They hadn't applied for passports, which would've taken them about a year to get. Then there's the farcical touch of pouring peroxide and acetone together...right. I'm sure that's real easy to do in the sink of a jet's privvy.

If nothing else, I wish these governments would at least lie more professionally. On his worst day, Philip K. Dick was never depressed enough to dream their shabby, banal shit up. But Ridley Scott did come up with something close:
Sushi Master: He say you under arrest, Mr. Deckard.
Deckard: Got the wrong guy, pal.
Gaff: Lo-faast, nehody maar, te vady a Blade... Blade Runner.
Sushi Master: He say you Bu-raade Runnah.
Deckard: Tell him I'm eating.