Sunday, December 31, 2006
Welcome to the old year day celebrations!
First order of business, reminisce on the past years nightmares.
2006 was almost too bad to review; Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld,Saddam Hussein, Robert Gates, Condaleeza Rice, Scooter Libby, Bob Woodward, Kim Jong Eel, John Roberts,
Sam Alito, Joe Lieberman, Abramoff, Delay, Haggard, and many many more individuals that managed to screw more stuff up than help.
The continuous flow of corruption and deceit out of the government was in full spew and guess who got splattered with the results? Yup, the working, taxpaying citizenry right here in the good old USA.
Another year of souls in the thousands lost to a wacko, out of control President and his minions and puppeteers.
No wonder everyone gets drunk on New Years Eve, trying to forget, drown the pain, relieve the pressure.
This one has the makings of a real whopper!
Friday, December 29, 2006
Big media should be ashamed
Let's call it the war cycle. Hawks among our leadership send out the alarm that another country is committing acts of war. Big media repeat those alarms on Page One without double-checking for accuracy. Our leaders quote the stories they planted in The New York Times and others as proof that our enemies are up to no good.
Then, what do you know, Americans catch senior military operatives from some axis-of-evil country doing something dreadful - it's even worse than we thought, they tell us - and the media report this exciting follow-up news. Soon bombs are falling on Baghdad.
This column is about Iran, but let's consider Iraq. Our government said al-Qaida was in cahoots with Saddam Hussein. Without bothering to confirm it, the media parroted that big lie. Next thing you know, Colin Powell is quoting a senior al-Qaida operative at the United Nations, suggesting it's even worse than we thought. Saddam is training al-Qaida in the use of weapons of mass destruction, Powell told the world. American media reported that so-called link.
You'd think reporters and producers would grow more skeptical.
The New York Times is almost as guilty as Fox News in spreading lies that fooled Americans into supporting the bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq. Yellow-cake uranium, aluminum tubes for making centrifuges, mobile laboratories for producing anthrax, aerial drones for spreading anthrax across the Eastern Seaboard. These and dozens of other falsehoods led to the sad situation we find ourselves in now.
Well, get ready for Act Two. The same tired drumbeat for war - this time against Iran - is beginning to echo in the land. We in the heartland, where so many of our young sign up for military service, shouldn't be fooled again into supporting unnecessary wars that put our youth at risk and add to the world's misery.
Case in point: Page One reports in The New York Times on Christmas parroted government allegations that American forces caught several Iranians in Baghdad helping radical Shiites plan attacks. You likely paid no more attention to those reports than you did four years ago when the Times, Fox, ABC and others were spreading falsehoods about yellow-cake uranium and Saddam's alleged al-Qaida connections.
But trust me. Your congressmen and senators are following this so-called news. In odd moments away from fund-raising for their next campaigns, they're reading briefs from advisers about what the Times, ABC and Fox are reporting. This passes for getting educated about Iran, apparently, and it's a poor education indeed.
The Times' reports are all too typical of war- cycle journalism.
Pardon me while I barf. This is disgusting journalism. It's sensational warmongering that plays into the hands of those who would like nothing better than to see us dropping lots of bombs on Iran. Sure, there are Iranians in next-door Iraq. I'd wager there are Tenneseans in Kentucky. Certainly, some Iranians are aiding their Shia brethren in Iraq.
That's what happens when you blow the lid off places with porous borders and unruly governance. But The New York Times should be ashamed for playing these stories at all - much less Page One - without verifying just what an Iranian "senior military official" is, the exact nature of those videos, photographs and maps, and providing context. So what if Iranians are in neighboring Iraq? What would you expect? Most of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. So what?
We in the media and many in government pay lip service to peace, but what motivates most reporters and politicians is the adrenaline rush of the big story. War sells papers, glues us to our TVs and increases the worth of weapons stock. But one of the many problems with war-cycle journalism is that it humiliates and discredits those working for peace.
It ensures that hardliners will take charge of nations we designate as evil. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and makes future wars inevitable. Please, don't be a party to it. Question. Write letters. Read a book about the history of Iran. Tell your congressmen to get educated and not become part of the war cycle that threatens to end our world as we know it.
Don Williams is the founding editor of New Millennium Writings. You may write to him at P.O. Box 2463, Knoxville, TN 37901, e-mail him at email@example.com or phone him at 865-428-0389.
Capitalism is alive and well on the internet and there is no finer example than E Bay.
The on-line auction was brought to life through the creation of E Bay and the concept of selling good stuff at reasonable prices. There you know the product by description, you are able to contact the seller regarding features of the item and are able to make an educated purchase of said items.
The E Bay system is a merit system of sellers and buyers based on feedback from both parties. With feedback you know whether the person you are buying from is reliable enough to be trusted. If not the feedback percentage is lowered through previous buyers rating their experience with the seller, bad feedback means people will not return to the seller for future purchases. Unlike retail store sales where you find out about bad stores when you try to return an item and receive significant grief in an attempt to do so.
The customer service level of retail stores often leaves something to be desired, young sales persons without the product knowledge or store knowledge to direct or advise you.
I have been taking up a new hobby of folding knife collecting recently and found E Bay to be an excellent place to find different and unique knives at very reasonable prices. I know that the sellers are not going to rip me off because their reputation is riding on feedback from me.
This is very similar to days gone by when the local Mom&Pop store would make every effort to be courteous and dependable, because their business's existence depended on their reputation.
I recently purchased a small die-cast AMC Gremlin (I like orphan cars) from a fellow in Wisconsin and along with the car received a personal note from the seller thanking me for my purchase. Just try and get that from Wally Mart! The respect for the customer and the sincerity of the note said to me, this person really cares about his customers, even with something inexpensive and small.
Folks this is what we need in our country, a genuine caring attitude and attention to the customer. Granted not all sellers do this but ones that do rate very highly in my book.
You will not get this at the giant discount stores, they want to move product off the shelves and count on the hordes and masses of consumers to do that for them. Personal service in those places is a thing of the past. Used to be downtowns across America had stores where the owners lived in the community and were members of the Chamber of Commerce, then Wally Mart showed up and drove them all out of business with 'deep discount prices' and the rest was history.
E Bay oddly enough is the internet equivalent of the Mom&Pop store, they provide many of the same things the big boys do with even cheaper prices and superior customer service. With so many of our consumable goods coming in from other countries today, it is a good thing to buy on E Bay and let an American get a piece of the capitalist action.
Sellers on E Bay are Americans playing the role of discount merchant with a reputation on the line and as such are motivated to be helpful. By supporting these people versus the big stores we give them a piece of the American dream thought to be lost long ago.
Please do your part to revive the small business person and check E Bay first before giving your money to some corporate big shot that cares not about you but their bottom line.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Actually the dogs of which I speak are the human variety, nasty, stinky, angry dogs with attitudes. Dogs that would kill their own kin just to make a buck, or get ahead.
You know, the corporate elite and twisted politicos, whose main goal is to enrichen themselves
to the point of being filthy stinking rich. Yachts, Ferraris, palatial estates, servants, etc.,etc.
Shrouded in the veil of "success" it implies that those less fortunate, are not a "success", thereby branding the lessors as inferior. Not necessarily physically or spiritually, but monetarily. It is another form of discrimination, nothing else.
Watching the exodus of the masses from the Squaw Valley parking lot years back (80's), showed me the self importance some people had over others. I watched as all the SUV's converged on one of two entrances, pushing and shoving of automobiles commenced. No one looked to the side, only forward in and attempt to ignore others trying to merge in. If they did not see them they did not exist. Pushing closer to the car in front to not allow merging to the point of shoving other cars along was an exercise in selfishness I not seen on such a grand scale prior to this. Dogs against dogs.
It is the same way in DC with politicos shoving stubbornly ahead into the supposed end but in reality causing the end to become further and further away. Bush is shoving others along forging his way through the clogged masses, ignoring all sides to further his agenda.
Is this the way Americans should behave? Should not reason and prudence prevail?
They are humans, behaving badly, dogs eating dogs to get ahead.
Time to be human.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
OK so the Shuttle took off and landed without a hitch. Anyone with Dish Network would have been able to see the entire mission broadcast on the NASA channel, way cool!
Watching the Earth go by while a camera is trained on it really makes me think how delicate the balance that maintains life and allows our existence. Wars cannot be seen, violence is invisible, only the tranquility of the clouds swirling and oceans gleaming in the unfiltered sunlight.
The reference to Earth used to be "Big Blue Marble", that is apparent when viewed from orbiting spacecraft.
However it is much more than a marble, it is the life support system for humanity, it must be protected at all costs. Does anyone think for one second that the solar system gives a rip whether we exist or not, humanity is a mere parasitical infestation occupying the Earth.
We have our wars, our killings, goodness as well, but in the grand scheme of things we have become a bad influence on our atmospheric protection, not to mention a hazard to one another with our constant warring nature.
Let's make this year a year for change, a change of attitude toward our life support system.
If we chose money over environment, we are endanger of becoming extinct.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Now that all the Christmas celebration is behind us, it is time to look forward to the next party on the horizon, New Years.
Shaking off the last of the tinsel and stocking the fridge with beer. I am looking forward to kissing 2006 goodbye once and for all.
I won't reminisce about the events of '06, because to do so would send us all into a pit of deep depression and I do not want to do that. Suffice it to say 06 sucked in every way except the election which was the most positive event of the entire year, thats not saying much, but it's all we have to rejoice in.
Lets hope the year 2007 brings us the luck of the number 7 because we need some luck after all the misery '06 wrought.
Some how we must regain control of the currently out of control Federal Government and their propensity to spend money we do not have on a war we do not want. That is the single objective that could return economic prosperity to our once thriving nation.
Right now we will be ringing in the New Year with thousands of people unable to pay their bills or simply feed their families, foreclosure rates are skyrocketing, people are dying right here in America because they feel they have lost their direction on the American way, suicide is up, violent crime is up, these are immediate things needing immediate attention. We cannot afford to have a losing war in a loser country right now, tighten up our borders here and fight the terrorists here, where we can see them more clearly out in the open, not over in some place you cannot tell terrorist from tailor.
There is a lot of work to be done in the year ahead and the leadership in DC is not up to the task. Sure we will have a Democratically controlled congress, but many of the old guard is still there and will be for years to come, we must keep the freedom ball rolling and not let it stop.
We must create our own luck.
Monday, December 25, 2006
The long awaited day has arrived!
Christmas Day, the culmination of retailers dreams for bountiful harvest of cash flow is upon us. Those of you with young children will undoubtedly be woken up by their gentle pleadings, can we open our presents now?
Well enjoy it while you can, little children grow up to be big children and the demands increase accordingly.
I have really enjoyed this last week with everyone here. This is a real first for me having a blog, and to have such wonderful folks to share their Christmas's past, has been a real treat.
Egg Nog is in the corner and fresh baked Christmas cookies on the side, make yourself at home.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!!!!!! And to all GOOD CHEER!!!!!
Saturday, December 23, 2006
I grew up in a colonial with white clapboards and green shutters on a small street in an old neighborhood in a college town in At one end of the street was the college gymnasium and at the other was the football field. I was the fourth of seven children. I arrived within a few months of when my family moved from central ..
It snowed a lot in The snow started to stick around Thanksgiving and by Christmas; the accumulation would exceed my own short stature. When seven kids in the family, Mom would dress us for the elements and send us out to play. We’d be bundle up in our hooded snowsuits with mittens that were attached by a long string that ran up our snowsuit sleeves and across the back inside; a safety string to insurance against the “I lost my mittens” problem. Our galoshes were far from waterproof; so mom collected Wonder Bread bags and put them on over of socks inside our boots. It helped a little. Outdoor playtime in the snow wasn’t just a matter of getting some relief from seven highly energetic kids; it was also an opportunity to get things done, especially in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. when we were young kids.
Christmas meant excitement beyond imagination. For weeks, four maybe five weeks, everything pointed to Christmas. Mom prepared diligently. First, a wreath with a big red bow went up on the front door right after Thanksgiving as if to say “We’re getting ready for Christmas.” Next, Mom placed the advent wreath with four candles on the kitchen table as the centerpiece and every Sunday after mass we’d light an additional candle. At some point, we’d all write our letters to Santa. It was an exercise of modest desires. Most of the time, Santa brought things we needed such as clothing but every year each kid received one eye-popping unexpected gift from Santa that made Christmas Oh! So much FUN! I remember unwrapping my first two-wheel bicycle. Wow! A shiny red bike!
A week before Christmas we’d drive in our blue Pontiac station wagon to the Boy Scout X-MAS tree sale to pick out our tree. About the word “X-MAS”, even in the early 60’s, well meaning but misguided politically correct language was starting to take hold in our lexicons in small New England college towns. After we got the tree home and secured upright in a tree stand and adorned with a multitude of strings of little white lights, we all got to pick out our favorite ornament and put it on the tree. We finished the job by hanging hundreds of shiny red ball ornaments from very small ones at the top to big ones at the bottom. Finally, Dad would put the angel up. Every year, we lost a few red glass globes: They didn’t bounce very well.
I awoke to the ringing of my windup Westclox. Another early morning getting ready to go out in the cold to do what I had done many times since third grade. Now in fifth grade I was getting restless and inattentive and felt drawn into an existence of repetitive nature.
That existence was the realm of the altar boy, the attendant to the Priest during Catholic mass.
I looked at the thermometer, it read 30 degrees, below zero and it was not even dawn.
Walking at 5:30 AM in that cold, made the snow squeak under my shoes as I walked to the church, steam locomotives on the other side of town sounded so loud, like they were coming right down the street. My breath clouding my vision, not a person anywhere to be seen as I squeak my way along.
Arriving at the church I heaved the side entrance door open to warmth once again.
I looked around the church and it was silent, votive candles flickering light from the very back.
The main door opened and several people came in, I scooted back to the vestibule and waited. Soon the bell ringer would show up to ring the church bell signaling that services would commence soon.
My partner Dave came in stomping the snow off his shoes, we had done this many times before and we knew the drill. Don the cossacks that altar boys wore and the foo foo white shirt, after trying on several we found ones that fit.
The priest showed up and walked through without comment. The church was filling up rapidly. After getting the cruets filled with water and wine and set out, we were ready for Mass.
This is where it got real boring, repeating Latin following the priests lead, yawning begins, followed closely by fidgeting and squirming, numerous stand-kneel-stand-kneel movements and finally after Communion, the whole thing was over and we all left the altar.
The priest thanked us and we left to return to the cold of the Minnesota winter. By now the Sun was rising and the real picture of the cold was painted, smoke rising from many before invisible chimneys and the sound of car tires squeaking on the snow leaving the early morning mass on that Christmas day.
I returned to my house, chilled but encouraged, I saw presents under the tree and mom was in the kitchen frying Christmas Sausage, Dad was reading the paper. How did mass go? mom asked, fine I said, can we open presents now? Soon she said, soon.
Seemed like I had been awake a very long time, Santa had come and gone without a trace except for the packages left under the tree. Actually I had long ago realized the Santa ruse was over but played along anyway. The smell of the Christmas Sausage fully engulfed the house top to bottom with it's delicious odor, I had forgotten about the presents, those thoughts were replaced by hunger. Breakfast was served, presents can wait for now.
Merry Christmas to one and all!!! Peace on Earth!!!
Friday, December 22, 2006
For the first 10 years of my life I lived in the Hungarian section of Delray in Southwest Detroit. Same area Carol hung out in except the Hungarian side of Dearborn St. We never met because I was 8 years old and she was only 2.
My family lived with my grandparents who spoke only Hungarian, so I learned how to speak it. In 1947 the Hungarian Catholic church we belonged to put together a Christmas play, recreating the birth of Christ. They picked several kids to put on costumes to play Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. We didn't do it on a stage, it was much better than that. We went out in the community to perform it door to door in people's living rooms, in the Hungarian language. I got to be a shepherd in the play because I spoke Hungarian.
We went from house to house for 5 evenings, performing the play. When we were done the people slipped money to the priest and nun for the church. They also tipped us kids with candy, fruit and MONEY!!! All evening we begged the priest to take us to a bar to perform the play because we kids knew the drunks would be quite generous. They always were on Halloween. He eventually gave in and bar-bound we were.
We finished the play in our first bar and it started raining money. People threw it at us from everywhere. Gold mine! To hell with the candy and fruit. WE ENDED UP GOING TO 5 BARS! (oh, excuse me Fr. Bali for saying hell!)
The most memorable night of the 5 nights we did this was the night I had to pee. It was dark, cold and windy and we had on long shepherd's robes. I peed all over myself and had to finish the whole night smelling like I really did sleep in a manger. I must say, I did put on an academy award perfomance.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Image Copyright © by Nebojsa Duranovic
As I read your memories of past Christmases, I recall many of my Christmases. For Christmas I was blessed with a shirt or a pair of pants. Occasionally, I would receive a shirt and a pair of pants.
My father would hang up the stockings. He would place in each stocking – an orange, an apple, some unshelled nuts, and some rock candy. Going to the stocking was very exciting.
In our home I remember that we had no hot and cold running water. We would take a bath after the water was boiled on the stove and mixed with the cold water. On schooldays I would wash up in cold water.
Since I was born in 1939, we faced WW II with the rationing of goods. We had a water tank put into our home when I was about twelve or thirteen. We had to continuous light the pilot light for hot water and if you forgot to light the pilot light, you would only have cold water for washing up.
We had a coal furnace and the coal would be delivered. It took years to replace the coal furnace. Coal was rationed during WW II. If you ran out of coal, it was too bad. Coal was placed in the furnace to last until about 1:00 am. Since my father was off to work early, he would put the coal into the furnace. My mother worked an evening shifted at an airplane plant. Since my father had poor vision, he did not serve in WW II. There was talk in early 1944 that he would be drafted on an as need basis.
My parents bought my pants with the idea that I would grow into them. The legs were longer and so the extra fabric was there to patch up the seat of the pants and the knees.
Shoes were also a size or two bigger so I could also grow into the shoes. Money was scarce. I recall that through the years I would wear out the soles so bad that I would put cardboard inside the shoes until my parents could afford to put on new soles and heels.
We never had much in our home but it did not matter because my father had a great sense of humor and we had ample laughter in our home.
Yes, those were the days. I did not realize that America had sniveling brats until I was older. Having to want is not always a bad idea. Same holds true for delayed gratification. Nazi America is a nation of spoiled, sniveling brats. Nazi Americans are also into immediate gratification. We are also a very selfish people. The wrath of God will someday be directly aimed at our nation and her evil ways.
I guess growing up with humility has prepared me for any bad times that awaits our devil incarnate nation.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT, SANTA LEARNS A LESSON
The year our younger daughter was three, she had already figured out the relationship of cause and effect. As we drove past a local coffee shop that we had patronized on occasion, I said to Bill, "Well, I'll be darned, the Copper Penny has closed." Without missing a beat, from the back seat, our moppet food critic said, "No wonder! They put pickles in their tuna fish." Cause. Effect.
Our destination that day was the girls' first up-close visit to Santa Claus. Oh, what fun! The line was long. The kids were bright-eyed and expectant, music and laughter filled the background with merriment. Santa was miked, so each child's wish was amplified to the waiting crowd. The line inched forward.
Britton was next. She cautiously approached Santa. Sat on his lap (do they still do that?). Santa began his spiel, mindful of his mandate to SELL toys, games, dolls!
"What would you like Santa to bring you?" he inquired.
"I want an egg slicer," Britton responded, matter-of-factly. She had eaten at various dining establishments that offered the ubiquitous sliced eggs fanned out on its salads. She did not want her ova "ovo easy." Nope. Sliced was a winner with her.
"An egg slicer, well ho ho ho, do you want a doll like this one?" Santa asked, as he reached over and picked up Dressy Bessy for all to see.
"No. I want an egg slicer."
"How about these Legos?"
"No. Just an egg slicer. I want an egg slicer."
"I'll bet you'd like that red tricycle, wouldn't you?"
"No. I... WANT... AN... EGG... SLICER." Losing patience.
Santa tried again. Then the line of 3-8 year olds began hooting with impatience. "SHE WANTS AN EGG SLICER!" "SANTA, CAN'T YOU HEAR?" "SHE TOLD YOU WHAT SHE WANTS!" "SANTA! STOP IT!"
Not to be deterred by the restless crowd, Santa made another attempt to turn Britton into a consumer, "Do you want Santa to bring you a Barbie Doll?"
At that point, she jumped off his lap and announced, "I want to talk to a Santa who listens!"
The line dispersed as kids yanked their mother's hands. "I don't want to see that Santa." "Let's go see a different Santa."
That Santa learned a lesson of cause and effect.
Britton did get her egg slicer. In fact, this year she is remodeling her kitchen and we're giving her a brand new egg slicer for Christmas to mark the occasion.
Ok, Den, here goes. Hmmm…my favorite Christmas. I have been pondering this since you brought it up. I have had many you know, fifty-two to choose from. There was the year I received a toboggan and the snow was up to our waist. We had wonderful sliding hills in my backyard. I think the same year I got the book Heidi and Little Women and I read them through the whole vacation. I just lay on my bed under my warm blankets and read.
And there were the years my children were small. Christmas is always special when there are small children. You haul them to see Santa and they ask for something you have no chance in…well you know you ain’t going to find it. But you do. You find it and oh the JOY you feel because your kid is going to wake up and look under the tree and Santa will have given them just what they wanted. Those red skis. The croc with the zipper mouth. The transformers and the ghost buster house. My little ponies and the books, books, books.
Believe it or not I think my favorites Christmas was the year I was sick…and we had no electricity…and I was pregnant. My husband went to his parent’s house to have dinner. I was alone. The house was so quiet. With no electricity there were no sounds from the appliances, no TV or radio, nothing. Nothing to distract. It was peaceful. I could just enjoy the unlit tree and the fresh snow and the movement of a baby that wouldn’t be born for four more months.
I still think of the peacefulness of that Christmas and cherish it. Peace everyone.
Yes, my wording was strong in last week's column, you might even say apocalyptic. I don't apologize. If we go along with our government's plans to build new generations of nuclear weapons, we're contributing to the possible demise of civilization, if not all life on the planet, one day, not to mention near-term health and environmental issues.
To recap: The News-Sentinel reported five weeks ago that officials are preparing an environmental impact statement for release this month, "to support construction of new Oak Ridge facilities - including a $500 million storage center for bomb-grade uranium and a proposed $1 billion uranium manufacturing facility."
More controversial nationally is Complex 2030, a planned nuclear weapons complex to be located in the United States, possibly New Mexico, which would begin pre-production work on new generations of nuclear weapons and also serve as the main storage site for plutonium.
The National Nuclear Security Administration is taking comments through Jan. 17, 2007, and - as I stated last week - I believe it's important that the public oppose these plans by sending an e-mail to Complex2030@nnsa.doe.gov. They're asking for our comments, so please, say no to new nukes.
I realize this is an issue about which reasonable people may disagree. As a few readers pointed out last week, the Complex 2030 proposal would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in this country over the short term by retiring so-called unreliable nukes that were built during the Cold War. The complex would recycle some components - mostly the nuclear portions - into new weapons-grade materials, while storing or destroying other components.
But in the words of Thomas P. D'Agostino, deputy administrator for defense programs for the NNSA, who testified before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces on April 5, 2006, the program would also do the following:
D'Agostino further told the committee, "The center would have a baseline production capacity of 125 pits per year net to the stockpile by 2022 comparable to what we had during the Cold War." Pits are the plutonium hearts of nuclear warheads. The plan calls for an interim ability by 2012 to produce "30-50 war reserve pits per year continuing until the center can meet the needs of the stockpile," said D'Agostino, whose testimony is available on the NNSA website.
To me this sounds like a plan to heavily produce and stockpile new generations of weapons. Dick Cheney and others have lobbied for a variety of new nukes over the years.
East Tennessee figures prominently in building up arsenals that could one day kill millions or billions of people. To D'Agostino, the prospect of maintaining this capacity amounts to good news.
The program is being sold on the premise that our nuclear stockpiles, and especially those plutonium pits, are rapidly deteriorating. However, as Walter Pincus wrote in The Washington Post on Nov. 30, a team of scientists at NNSA has concluded those pits will remain reliable for another century without upgrading. To me, this calls the program into question. Already we have thousands of nukes. Sure, we should support dismantling unreliable ones and begin letting the arsenal shrink by attrition, at least. After all, how many nukes does one country need?
In 1968, we signed a treaty that said we'd work to stop building and stockpiling new nuclear weapons. No, we can't disarm immediately, but we should work toward the long-term goal of a world that doesn't bristle with nuclear weapons. Instead, we appear headed in the opposite direction. To finance new modern facilities for producing new nukes in violation of international law, even as we punish others for hinting they might follow our example?
Please, don't be a party to it. Lodge your protest now.
Don Williams is the founding editor of New Millennium Writings. You may write to him at P.O. Box 2463, Knoxville, TN 37901, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone him at 428-0389.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
It is my wish to you all the merriest of Christmases for you and your families.
Don't forget a prayer to the God of your choice for the Troops in Iraq and the Iraqi innocents being subjected to the neo-con agenda.
That said, I leave the guilt behind and celebrate the holidays like so many holidays before it by visiting with good friends, enjoying some fine liquors, in moderation of course, and the requisite X-mas goodies.
I have a gift for all you faithful readers that have stuck with me through all the struggle and strife.
Get your keyboards warmed up and ready, I would like all who wish to, e-mail me with a story of a past or present holiday that you have had, or something holiday related, not real picky, just make up something if you feel creative.
I will sort through and post someones story everyday(Mon-Sun) as the lead story on this blog.
Consider it a chance to showcase your writing talents and celebrate the holidays also, the forum is yours all next week, a gift from me to you.
I will choose a holiday cartoon or something to be a topper on the story, unless you have a preference you wish to submit.
I don't want anyone to feel left out, I hate being left out, so anything goes!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
All attempts to come up with a viable topic of discussion have come up empty so far. But I will at least comment on current events and my friends can leave their opinions in the comments;
Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota was in critical but stable condition Thursday after emergency brain surgery, creating political drama over whether Democrats will control the new Senate next month if he is unable to continue in office. (He is recovering after brain surgery)
Bush said Wednesday he would "not be rushed" into a decision on a strategy change for Iraq,saying that in a round of consultations he heard both some interesting ideas and some "ideas that would lead to defeat."
Gunmen in military uniforms kidnapped dozens of people Thursday from a major commercial area in Baghdad, the second mass abduction in the capital in a month, and nearly 30 people were killed or found dead elsewhere in Iraq.
Todays' Democracy Now is worth a look see. HERE
OK team lets get blogging!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Whats this guys' approval rating? 13%, 2%, spit?
Folks it is going to be a looooong 2 years till the King of the BoBo's gets his walking papers.
Too many days left he can stick his fingers in a Federal program or agency and pull stuff out on behalf of his corporatista pals. Too many days to continue on the course of ineptitude in Iraq.
The ISG made on thing clear as a glass of mud, It ain't working, we are not getting the oil contracts soon enough, those guys are hoppin mad at the Administration's fouled efforts.
So here we sit less than 15 days before X-mas and doofuss puts his speech on the issue on hold till after the 1st of the year. Why? simply because he does not know what to do next.
He has decidered his way through the past 6 years using other peoples brains, now time has come to use his and guess what? He cannot find it! If he would see a proctologist, it's location could be pointed out, somewhere in the region of the descending colon I suspect.
Like a BB in a boxcar, the doofus's gray matter is likely being bounced out on the table after a sneeze. Funny how acting like a redneck good-ole-boy can get you elected to the job of POTUS.
And the shallowness of the redneck mentality shows the depth of his thoughts, the Dukes of Hazzard in the White House routine is wearing thin and maybe worn through completely.
This punk frat boy has dragged this nation to party after party and liquored it to near coma, Maybe it is better if he just shuts up for once.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
These are a few excerpts from the comedy, er, comments section submitted for your enjoyment
Dear Tom DeLay, may I say, we have missed you. Just your presence on the Web has given me a sense of security. There are many of us that know the Democrats lied and forced you out but, you will have your day! In the meantime, we are here and waiting to help. If we pull together and stay together, we can defeat these Liberals that are ruining our country. God be with you, just tell us what we can do.
Just saw you on Fox! You looked and sounded great! Best of luck.
Tom - I'm glad you've jumped in to the blogosphere. I'm so tired of the fabian socialist propaganda the drive-by media passes off as "news". Eventually, the left will meet overwhelming defeat, when we the people unite.
I am glad that you are doing this, i am intereste din your thoughts.
Resiliency in the face of adversity! good on ya, but a long road lies ahead...cannons to the right of me, cannons to the left...and so forth.
We are all wishing you the best, we know that in the end truthiness will prevail and the liberals will be defeated!
Way to go Tom! We're pulling for ya all the way!
You are the glue that binds the gears of America together! Go get em!
Thank God you're back. The Democrats are too slavishly devoted to their pre-9/11 view of the Constitution. We need you to hammer them back into reality!
Also I saw you on Fox this morning! you ROCK!
Please, Mr. Delay, please run for President. Seriously. Please run for President. Thank you.
Jesus you people are scary.
The way is clear, sir.
DELAY IN '08!!!!!!
Please, please, please run for the Republican nomination for President. I think if you made your Vice Presidential candidate Elizabeth Dole you could really have something. Please, sir, please run for President in '08. You would have it all over McCain, who would do and say ANYTHING to be President, and Giuliani, who would be a good President, and is a good man, but who is very liberal socially.
It's nice to see somebody, in a balanced, truthful and unafraid way, show former-president Carter for what he truly is...a careless never-was.
"It's nice to see somebody, in a balanced, truthful and unafraid way, show former-president Carter for what he truly is...a careless never-was."
As opposed to Bush who cared so much that he opted to bring democracy to people who did not want it. Don't get me wrong I think Carter was a weak president. But Bush makes him look like a genius.
Well there you have it, comedy on a grand scale. The names have been left off the comments so as not to further embarrass the authors.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Today was another day like any other Monday. I went to the Yahoo Mailbox and lo and behold!
I won the Yahoo Lottery! Of course it was from Yahoo UK, but holy cow! Riches were awaiting, I just had to fill in the required information to confirm a few things.
But wait, there is something fishy about this. How would I be chosen at random by e-mail address? Could I have been entered at random? How could it be?
Indeed, it is to good to be true, all 800,000 British Pounds, dangled in front of me like a carrot on a stick. BASTARDS!!! How dare they torture me with the thought of instant riches! How many more people have felt the same way because of these e-mail invaders promising riches and delivering none.
Such is life in the 21st century, e-mail spam, the broken dreams of instant wealth. PT Barnum said "There is a sucker born every minute" and if he were alive today he would still say it.
Be wary of e-mail scams promising instant riches, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Now back to reality I go, there will be a day, someday, maybe, when the Lottery will be mine.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Say No to New Nukes With A Simple Email Comment
by Don Williams
Send an email. Drop your shopping, your decorating and card-writing for just two minutes and do the world a favor in this season of peace. If you love our world, send an email to Complex2030@nnsa.doe.gov. Tell the Department of Energy in your own words that we don’t want more nuclear bombs in this country—not when we have thousands already and we’re trying to convince others not to build them.
In case you missed it, the National Nuclear Security Administration on Oct. 19 published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register to build a new nuclear weapons complex in the United States. That complex would also be the main storage site for plutonium, while new facilities would be created in Oak Ridge, TN, for greater storage and processing of weapons grade uranium. Although the program is being sold as a way of shrinking the nuclear footprint in this country—consolidating and streamlining much of the nuclear weapons industry--Complex 2030, as it’s called, would soon have the capacity to build 125 new nuclear weapons per year, a level comparable to that reached during the Cold War.
As The Knoxville News-Sentinel reported a month ago, officials are preparing an environment impact statement for release in December, “to support construction of new Oak Ridge facilities--including a $500 million storage center for bomb-grade uranium and a proposed $1 billion uranium manufacturing facility.”
No doubt that environmental impact statement will mention the effects on birds and other animals, on groundwater, air, native plants and the health of nearby residents. But I wonder if it will contain the phrase, “Could result in the destruction of the planet.”
Please, resist this deal to make us all complicit in future horrors we can’t begin to predict. A few corporations will profit, a few politicians will brag about new jobs, but it’s a devil’s bargain--jobs now, against the possible death of our entire world, as a new arms race begins in earnest.
In the past you’ve made a difference. The “Penny for Parks” campaign persuaded a governor to reopen state parks. Just last week the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority voted for nature-friendly land use policies following an outpouring of public support.
To its credit, our federal government asks media to let you know how to comment. So please do. If you have email, use it, if you don’t, then post comments in writing to: Theodore A. Wyka, Complex 2030 SEIS Document Manager, Office of Transformation, U.S. Department of Energy, NA-10.1, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC, 20585. Or contact your senator or representative and say no to new nukes.
Else, where is our nation’s moral authority? Where is our leadership? Where is our conscience? These are fair questions, I believe, considering the history of the nuclear age.
In August 1945, America exploded the first and only nuclear bombs ever used in warfare, over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (Set aside, for now depleted uranium shells used in Iraq.) From the outset, scientists, writers and ordinary people—including many who worked on the bombs or otherwise supported the bombing of Japan--questioned how long life on our planet could survive with such destructive weapons in the world. Albert Einstein and others wrote cautionary letters to the president. In 1949, nuclear weapons spread to the Soviet Union and later to China, France, England, Israel, India and Pakistan.
Many became alarmed and proposed treaties to limit nuclear weapons. In the late 1960s, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was born. Its terms were fairly simple. Countries that didn’t have nuclear weapons before 1968 promised not to build them. Those that had them would get rid of theirs with all due haste. It seems an amazing accomplishment now. The treaty soon carried more signatures than any international treaty in history, with 189 countries signing on.
The United States signed the NPT in 1968 and our Senate ratified it the next year. In 1970 the treaty became binding. Only India, Pakistan and Israel declined to sign. Recently, North Korea announced it would withdraw from the NPT in order to make nuclear weapons. Our government didn’t bother with such formality. We just moved ahead.
Let’s not be gullible. If we build new nukes, countries around the world will follow our example—or the example of Iran, which has yet to violate the letter of the NPT, but is expanding its options by building a nuclear infrastructure. Japan, Brazil, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others could follow suit, as owning nukes takes on the glamour of status symbol and the force of military action. Meanwhile, America appears to be closing the window of opportunity to disarm old Soviet warheads.
What’s amazing is the brazenness with which we’re proceeding to break the NPT, and how the national press yawns as we once again walk toward the brink of nuclear annihilation.
Please, do what you can.
Friday, December 08, 2006
A bit of good humor for the last day of a highly tumultuous week.
Christmas, holidays are heading are way fast and so it brings to an end a Congress that accomplished absolutely ZERO, this session. Well chumps better luck next year! Indeed no progress is a good thing sometimes. It is the calm before the storm so-to-speak in Congressional terms, next session will be a doosey, you can take that to the bank.
My only hope at this point is that the world pulls back on the violence and destruction for a bit. There is always next year! Facing the possibility of a KIA number hitting three thousand with untold wounded sheds a foreboding light on this holidays' festivities.
17 shopping days till Christmas, better get busy!
Remember to buy American products whenever possible.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
BIG OIL, BIG MEN, One of the biggest is none other than James Baker III.
Here is his company, Baker Botts LLP's Newsroom publication found on their site:
Among Tops Globally in Projects & Energy, Arbitration
Results released today for Chambers Global 2007 lists Baker Botts as No. 1 in Energy: Oil & Gas (transactional)/United States, and among the world's leading law firms in Projects & Energy: North America (No. 3) and Arbitration/International (No. 4).
Also, five lawyers from the firm were ranked No. 1 in their practice areas:
* David Asmus, Energy & Gas (Transactional)/United States;
* Evan R. Berlack, WTO/International Trade -- United States Export Controls & Economic Sanctions;
* Antony Higginson, Energy: Oil & Gas/United Kingdom;
* Mark Rowley, General Business Law -- Overseas Experts; and
* Irv Terrell, Litigation -- Trial Lawyers/United States.
Commenting on Baker Botts' expertise in the United States in the Oil & Gas area, Chambers researchers said: "The lawyers at this firm have deep sector specific knowledge; so much so, commentators acknowledge that the capabilities of its Houston team are 'hard to match.' In particular, it is renowned for the quality of its upstream oil and gas work, continuing its involvement in 'cutting-edge' LNG deals. Lawyers leverage 'first-class' experience to take advantage of the domestic upswing in the latter arena. The Washington, DC office is a key link in the firm’s global projects network, which spans Houston, London and Moscow. Clients enjoy the fact that the team, as a whole, 'really offers the full package of services,' injecting its lauded projects expertise with regulatory, transactional and financial capability."
In the editorial review of Baker Botts' strengths internationally in Projects & Energy: North America, Chambers researchers stated: "This Texas energy star is establishing itself as a major player in projects spanning the world. Impressed clients cite the practice’s ability to offer the 'highest level of service' in the oil and gas arena. Globally, the team works extensively with Middle Eastern energy entities, and clients speak highly of the 'good support' the team offers. The firm boasts decades of oil and gas expertise, and is an experienced and trusted adviser when it comes to LNG, pipelines, refineries and electric power."
Reviewing the firm's International Arbitration capabilities, Chambers researchers stated: "The eight-strong London team is 'making a real push in the market,' and is perceived as having been particularly successful through co-operating with the firm's lawyers in Moscow. In accordance with the global operation's overall strengths, it is well known for its quality oil and gas sector work, whereby members of the group are frequently involved in disputes under ICC and LCIA rules. The collegial group can call on the resources of the firm's U.S. office network as required."
Here is their site.
Makes you wonder doesn't it, why Mr. Baker is so steeped in oil and Iraq at the same time. Could it be he has a direct interest in Iraqi's vast oil reserves? You bet!
This would by any other definition be considered the LARGEST conflict of interest in US government history, but who has the legal resources to challenge anything that is done or said. With 700 lawyers at their disposal the odds of bringing a case against this particular bunch an impossibility, and they know it.
The BIG OIL interests know this and that is why they have brazenly led us into this bastardized war for the specific purpose of claiming it for their own, never mind it is on foreign soil, that does not matter to them in the least, nor does the loss of American troops lives while in the process of gaining control of it.
Folks, we are in deep doodoo here, beyond a normal persons comprehension.
We have been led to believe by these BIG OIL people that the fight is against terrorism, but that is incorrect. This fight is about the OIL and nothing else. Terrorism is a cardboard dummy put up to shield the real reason behind this illegal war.
And the Iraq Study Group report:
By Henry J. Pulizzi
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The U.S. should help Iraq draft an oil law that defines the rights of regional and local governments, work with the country's military to protect its oil infrastructure, and encourage long-term investment in the oil sector, the Iraq Study Group recommended Wednesday.
"Since the success of the oil sector is critical to the success of the Iraqi economy, the United States must do what it can to help Iraq maximize its capability," the 10-member panel said in its long-awaited report. "Iraq, a country with promising oil potential, could restore oil production from existing fields to 3.0 to 3.5 million barrels a day over a three- to five-year period, depending on evolving conditions in key reservoirs." Article
So there you have it, The BIG KAHUNA, OIL.
Our troops are the sacrificial lambs in the slaughter being wrought for BIG OIL,
and there is not a hell of a lot any of us can do about it except watch, and weep.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
NAME — Robert M. Gates.
AGE-BIRTH DATE — 63, Sept. 25, 1943, Wichita, Kan.
EXPERIENCE — CIA intelligence analyst, 1966-1974; National Security Council staff, 1974-1979; director of executive staff for CIA director, 1981-1982; deputy director for intelligence, 1982-1986; chairman of the National Intelligence Council, 1983-1986; deputy director of CIA, 1986-1989; acting director, 1986-1987; deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs, 1989; assistant to the president and deputy for national security affairs, 1989-1991; CIA director, 1991-1993; interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, 1999-2001; president of Texas A&M University, 2002-present
EDUCATION — B.A. from College of William and Mary, 1965; M.A. Indiana University, 1966; Ph.D. Georgetown University, 1974.
FAMILY — Gates and his wife, Becky, have two children.From the hearing:
LEVIN: I want to ask you about that statement of the president, which he's made twice in recent weeks.
"We are going to stay in Iraq as long as the Iraqis ask us to be there." Doesn't such an open-ended commitment send a message to the Iraqis that somehow or other it is our responsibility that -- as to whether or not they achieve a nation, rather than it is their responsibility to reach a political settlement?
GATES: Senator, I haven't spoken with the president about those remarks, so I'm going to have to interpret them myself. It seems to me that the United States is going to have to have some presence in Iraq for a long time. The Iraqi forces clearly have no logistical capability of their own. They have no air power of their own. So the United States clearly even if our -- if whatever changed approach or strategy we come up with, the president implements, works, we are still going to have to have some level of American support there for the Iraqi military and that could take quite some time, but it could be with a dramatically smaller number of U.S. forces than are there today. And so I would interpret the president's remarks in this vein, that we will -- we are willing to continue to help the Iraqis as long as they want our help. I don't think that it implies that we will be there at the level of force we have or doing the things that we are doing in a major combat way for the indefinite future.
Among his other holdings, Gates is part of BLO Family Properties, a family owned company in Mount Vernon, Wash. He described that asset as worth $1 million to $5 million.
Other assets and earnings detailed in Gates' financial report from 2005 to the present include:
• $752,788 in salary as president of Texas A&M University.
• $137,469 in a lump sum from a Texas A&M deferred compensation plan.
• $397,834 in compensation from Fidelity Investments, where he is chairman of the board of trustees.
• $163,000 from a total of 10 speeches, including $16,000 each in speaking fees from National Pest Management, AIM Investments, Mellon Financial, Target Corp. and others and $20,000 for addressing the Securing America's Future Energy Foundation.
• $91,000 in director fees from Parker Drilling Co.
• $80,033 in director fees from Brinker International.
• $64,749 in consulting fees from The Mitchell Group, an energy consulting group in Houston.
• A $5,000 consulting fee from Temple Inland, a real estate firm in Austin, Texas.
Surprise, surprise! another Texas millionaire with CIA ties lands a job in the Bush administration.
Yer with us or agin us! Monetarily speaking of course
Mr. Gates, savior of the Pentagon and most important of all, not Rummy!
Quite possibly worse.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
T-shirt-'80's Cia-Contra Drug Connection
By ROBERT BURNS
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Tuesday he's gratified that Robert Gates, his choice to be the next defense secretary, is getting a quick confirmation hearing in the Senate and said "he's going to do an excellent job for us."
"Quick confirmation" oh really?
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., in line to become next chairman of the committee, told reporters that although he opposed Gates' nomination as CIA director in 1991, he is willing to give him a fresh look.
Levin added that he hoped to discern whether Gates was open minded and willing to offer dissenting views to the president.
"The president needs to have people who are strong in their positions enough to tell him when ... they disagree with him," Levin said.
Levin was among 31 senators who voted against Gates to become CIA chief in 1991. During that year's hearings, Gates faced accusations by CIA officials that he manipulated intelligence as a senior analyst in the 1980s in order to support White House policy.
Ahhh! the truth as it is written. Bush likes him because? Because he will manipulate intelligence to suit the Prez's needs. Well now that is exactly what we need isn't it? And everyone is SOOOO happy to see him after all these years, return to the same hearings that rejected his ass for the top CIA job years back. Supposedly a blind has been pulled down over everyones eyes that makes looking back at those hearings irrelevant.
Wait just a frigging moment here!
WASHINGTON - In 1984, Robert Gates, then the No. 2 CIA official, advocated U.S. airstrikes against Nicaragua's pro-Cuban government to reverse what he described as an ineffective U.S. strategy to deal with communist advances in Central America, previously classified documents say.ARTICLE
Heres the good part:
The target of Gates' anxieties: Nicaragua's leftist president, Daniel Ortega.
Now isn't that interesting, but not surprising to anyone that understands how the Bushbaby runs things, or messes them up to be more accurate.
Another one of the old guard member is rolled into the Senate hearings. Not just any member but one of the key individuals involved in Iran-Contra.
But we are supposed to forget all that and believe Gates is the Knight in Shining Armor, on a white horse, here to rescue us from the nasty Iraq war, that the very old guard neo-con PNAC, ex Reagan, ex Bush 41, advocated all along.
P.T. Barnum was right, there is a SUCKER born every minute, and if you are not one you are being played for one right now.
This is the Fox and he is being confirmed to guard the hen house. Just because he killed a few chickens back in '84, doesn't mean he will now, or will he?
This country cannot afford another Bush appointee!
My hope is the Democrats realize along with myself, that this man is NOT here to help anyone except himself, a well known trait of the neo-cons, that by sending his ass packing unapproved back to Poppy, it will send a message.
We no longer will tolerate the neo-con agenda!
We the people have spoken!
Bring us someone with REAL integrity, not some left over killer.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Christ-mas, hey Jimmie, where did Christmas come from? I dunno, lets ask Willie, hey Willie, where did Christmas come from? Santa Claus, Willie responded. Oh, I said.
Strange how the meaning of Christmas is trampled in the stampede of eager shoppers.
The feeding frenzy for China-produced goods is on, better move aside or get stomped.
Ah yes, the re-emergence of Neanderthal values, get the F#*$K outa my way! Hey thats my parking spot! AS%$#&LE. Oh yea, that and a whole lot more. I recommend leaving the firearms at home, the temptation to use them is just too great.
It can only be described as "Collective Shopping Lunacy", CSL for short. When a hundred or more robustarian shoppers get together, all hell WILL break loose. Madness in numbers, all after the same stuff, like too many molecules occupying the same space at one time, somethings' going to blow.
Personally, I will do my shopping on the internet, it is not quite as traditional as plundering stores but much easier on my mental health, besides where else can you drink beer and go shopping too?
Sunday, December 03, 2006
The Final Unraveling in Iraq
by Don Williams
I told you so.
I say that not to gloat--events in Iraq are too hideous for that--but rather to make the following point about this unending nightmare on our TVs.
Anyone who spent 15 minutes Googling, say, “History of Iraq” should’ve seen years ago how this would play out. As I wrote in August of 2003, “if majority rule flowers in Iraq, Shiites will run the place, as they do in Iran. That’s who the majority is.”
That's the reality, and given enough time, reality will trump dogma every time. Witness the final unraveling, this week, of Bush’s plan for Iraq.
* Violence spikes, with well over 100 dying daily, on average, and many more tortured in ways too horrible to show on TV.
* Colin Powell calls it a civil war.
* Iraqi President Jalal Talabani meets with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
* A leaked memo from Bush's National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley suggests Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki "is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action,” regarding violence.
* Maliki skips Wednesday’s meeting with Bush and King Abdullah II of Jordan.
* Instead, Maliki and Bush meet the next day.
* Combative Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr--the country's most popular Shiite--withdraws support from the Maliki government.
* The New York Times reports the Iraq Study Group, led by long time Bush family friend, James A. Baker, will call for a phased redeployment of American soldiers from Iraq.
* Nobody’s calling it “cut and run,” but that’s essentially what it is.
So where does that leave Iraq? Where does it leave us? Far from where Bush said we’d be. He sold America on the notion that by “installing” (yes the word was often used, as if swapping out a Chevy engine) democracy in Iraq, then envious Iranians next door would follow suit, thus ending Iran’s support for radical allies in Syria and Lebanon, such as Hezbollah.
The scheme was based on Neo-con dogma, twisted intelligence, and rosy predictions, rather than what’s been going down in Iraq since the end of WWI, when England and France divvied up much of the Middle East based on location of oil, ports and railroads (Google Sykes-Picot). As I've demonstrated, it's easy enough to learn about the history of Iraq. In ignoring that country's true history and makeup, our president opened a road to perdition, characterized by torture on all sides, loss of civil liberties, civil war and worse.
Face it. By blindly following Bush into a war based on a pack of lies we tortured from a psychotic man (Google al-Libi+Powell for more), our country succeeded in putting its worst enemies in charge of Iraq. The Shiites there find it in their interests to make common cause with Iran, the world’s largest predominately Shiite nation, and, by implication, their friends, such as Hezbollah, who recently provoked Israel into demolishing much of Lebanon.
It’s hard to see how this war ends happily. Maliki is caught between—I’ll resist the tired pun on Iraq—irresistible forces in America, Iran and his own country. By splitting the difference between Bush and al-Sadr, he's managed to insult both. Given his options though, could George Washington have done better?
What happens next is anybody’s guess. Some possibilities:
* Bush will be true to his word and continue supporting Maliki, “the Mayor of the Green Zone,” as some mock him.
* Bush could remove Maliki, maybe by having him killed, as peace activist Tom Hayden predicted on CNN this week, and replace him with a puppet.
* Al-Sadr could lead his radical Shiite followers, seize control from whoever Bush supports, and set up a new fundamentalist Muslim state in league with Iran.
* Iraq could break apart into three countries or tribal zones.
* Bush could roll the dice by massively bombing Iran, knocking out that country’s nuclear infrastructure, something long predicted by writers such as Seymour Hersh.
Whatever happens, the question Bush must answer for history is, how will his policies bring meaning to the death and maiming of so many? The question for the rest of us:
How do we keep our troops and our world safe as Bush plays out the string in his two remaining years? I’ve suggested before that someone, maybe Bush’s father, needs to take him by the hand and lead him to a very safe place. Just maybe that’s what’s going on. Or rather, Bush 41, may be bringing a new “place” or context to his own son’s presidency. Stay tuned.