Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Most Overlooked Storyline of '08: The GOP Cheney Problem

It's amazing what one can learn from a perusal of Republican websites like National Review, TownHall, and even links from blogs like RedState and FreeRepublic. This is especially true when they are terrified and looking to assign blame for their woeful condition going into '08.

In this case, I'm talking about a fascinating and insightful article from Townhall by prolific conservative writer Bruce Bartlett. Although I disagree strongly with Bartlett's politics, his conclusions are dead on.

Bartlett states unequivocally that Bush screwed over Republicans from the get go. He's not talking about the War/Occuaption in Iraq. He's not talking about Katrina. Nor about government for the rich, reckless mismanagement, Dubai ports, outing undercover agents, or trying to use immigration as a wedge issue.

No, he's talking about Bush's selection of and loyalty to Dick Cheney as his vice-president--and the stubborn penchant for sycophancy that led to it.

The article is entitled Republicans' Cheney Problem, and I strongly encourage everyone to read the whole article. But the absolute key paragraph that will raise some eyebrows is this one:

That the Republicans do not have a sitting vice president running for the presidential nomination in 2008 is entirely George W. Bush's doing. In 2004, he decided that he would rather have a vice president who would never question him than one who could carry on his legacy. As Bush explained in a Feb. 12, 2007 interview on C-SPAN:

"From my perspective, it is good not to have a vice president running for president. Can you imagine somebody out there running and all of a sudden saying, 'Well, I wouldn't have done it exactly that way.' When things got difficult, like they are in Iraq, I told the president that he should have done it this way. He chose another way.' In other words, there would be the tendency for a candidate who was associated with the president to feel like they needed to distance themselves during the tough moments, like right now, and that would create instability inside the administration."

This is absolutely critical: Bush picked Cheney (and stuck with him) because Cheney would stay loyal to his batshit crazy policies even when they went south (as even he must have known they would). And now Republicans like Bartlett who still remain enamored of Bush's policies are upset with Dear Leader because he valued loyalty and message consistency over the ability to carry on the rotten legacy of his policies.

What Bartlett and his colleagues fail to realize is that sycophancy, belligerence, secrecy and unresponsiveness are legacies of this president--the disasters of Iraq, Katrina, etc., are merely outgrowths of an entire "fuck-you" attitude towards governance. Further, it's not clear why Bartlett should be surprised that the leader of an entire political establishment dedicated to the philosophy of "Look Out for Number 1" spent his political career and capital, well...looking out for number 1, rather than looking out for his Party.

Bartlett, of course, goes on to argue the obvious points in favor of having a vice-president willing to carry on your legacy as a president--a position Bush explicitly chose to deny his own Party:
Another virtue of having a vice president with ambitions of his own is that he is the only senior White House official in a position to resist the sycophancy that always surrounds the president. This is important because presidents live in a bubble, surrounded by people who owe their power and position solely to him. They are loath to be seen as "out of the loop" or to read news stories about their imminent departure, when they had no such plans. This tends to make the White House staff highly responsive to the president's wants, biases and whims.

Once into a second term, the vice president cannot be fired and his own ambitions will encourage him to pressure the president into adopting policies and taking positions that will be popular with voters. Since presidents cannot run for a third term, they would otherwise be totally impervious to public opinion. If a vice president hopes to be elected president himself, he has a strong incentive to advise the president to adopt policies that will make it easier for him to win.

Precisely. That's the whole point! Bush knew good and goddamn well that his policies were atrocious and terrible for the American People--and he sure as hell wasn't going to have some traitorous vice president who would attempt to go over his head to salvage the reputation of the party. (Instead, he would get a traitorous vice-president who would out nuclear proliferations secret agents while remaining loyal to his 27% approval-rating policies). Cheney's atrocious approval ratings aren't by accident--they're by design.

And this, after all, is the modus operandi of George W. Bush: take it over, run it into the ground, and run away. It's what he did to Arbusto oil; it's what he did to the Texas Rangers; and he'll be damned if he doesn't do the same goddamn thing to the Republican Party. Only problem is, he's taking the American People and their representative democracy down with him (to say nothing of the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere).

The final paragraph is the kicker:

For these reasons, I think Dick Cheney's lack of ambition for the presidency has been more of a handicap to Bush than the blessing he sees it as. It has fostered insularity at the White House and closed off an important avenue of influence to the president that has encouraged him to take a "go it alone" attitude, which is bad both for the country and the Republican Party.

No doubt--but that's what happens when you make devil-may-care selfishness and greed a moral good; when stubbornness and belligerence are seen as virtues, rather than vices; when a vampire-like insistence on secrecy and lack of sunshine in government are seen as heroic; when faith in idiocy is valued over reasoned intelligence; and when Gordon Gekko's "Greed is Good" speech is seen not as a villain's moral lesson, but as a guidebook for life and motivational seminar.

It's just too bad that we've all had to be unwilling passengers of this careening train wreck.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Big Trouble for GOP Candidates in '08

The bad news for the keeps rolling in for the GOP.  While the '06 elections were like a tsumani, drowning Rove's and Delay's long-dreamed-of "permanent majorities" in one wave of popular disgust, the Republican difficulties in '08 are like a high tide before an unrelenting full moon on an endless night.  They're slow, foreboding and dismal--and they're creeping up with the inevitability of an unwanted season.

The bad news I'm talking about today comes in a USAToday/Gallup poll that I found through the Hotline Blog.  It's three days old, but I haven't seen any major hay being made out of the results.  And the results are ugly for Republicans, as you can see below.

The Gallup poll asked a simple question: "If Your Party Nominated A Generally Well-Qualified Candidate For WH '08 Who Was ___,  Would You Vote For That Person?

As a market researcher myself, I would have interested in seeing party-line breakdowns for the purposes of primary battles--but you can't get everything you want.  Even so, the results are deeply instructive.  And while they may be bad for societal progress, they're also bad for Republican chances.

  Yes No

Catholic  95% 4%  

Black   94 5

Jewish  92 7

A woman  88 11

Hispanic  87 12

Mormon  72 24

Married for third time  67  30 

72 years old  57 42

A homosexual  55 43

An atheist  45 53

Now, let's take a real good look at this for a second--and see what it means for each candidate.

John McCain: Everybody is talking about McCain's perfidy and the Bullshit Express; his presence on the gang of 14 and his strong support of escalating the Iraqi Occupation; his "maverick" status or lack thereof; his pandering to the religious right and whether Dobson will or won't make up and play nice with him.

What far too few people are talking about is what will really do in McCain if nothing else: a full 42% say that they will not vote for the man simply on account of his age alone.

What's even more shocking is that the negatives against a 72-year-old  president are as EQUALLY as strong as the negatives against a HOMOSEXUAL. 

Let me repeat that: according to the poll, 72 years old = homosexual.
  Nobody in their right mind would think that a gay man or a lesbian could become president today in America.  Yet conventional wisdom says that a 72-year-old McCain can be elected president.  This is the sleeper issue in McCain's presidential run, bar none.

Rudy Giuliani: Everybody talks about his social liberalism; his stance on gay marriage and abortion; whether he was actually that good a mayor; whether America really wants a mayor as president; whether 9/11 and its various ghosts can still sway that many voters.

And yes, his marriages are a big deal--but few are talking about them as  if they were the BIGGEST deal.  And they are.  A full 30% will not support a thrice-divorced man as presidential nominee.  Period.  And I would  be willing to bet that the vast majority of respondents who state that as a negatie criterion are Republican social conservatives.  That alone makes him almost unelectable (I know, it's a bad word--but I'm gonna use it anyway) in a GOP primary--and I don't really see how he wins a general election, either.

To paraphrase what we say about DLC Democrats: offer the people a choice between a Democrat and a Democrat-lite (but a secret corporatist shill), they'll pick the Democrat every time.

Mitt Romney: Well, there's no denying what his biggest issue is--and it's not his flip-flopping on abortion or gay marriage (though those will be his undoing anyway).  As everyone has been saying for some time now, his Mormonism is still his biggest obstacle.  A full 24% of Americans say that they just won't vote for a Mormon. 

No major commentary is necessary here, except to say that it's pretty hard to reach 50% of the electorate when you give your opponent a 24-point headstart from the beginning of the race.  He could still pull it out--but he'd be really hard-pressed to do so.

Finally, we have Hillary vs. Obama.  Everybody talks about how Obama's race will play against him, and talk about it as if it were a bigger issue than Hillary's gender.  And honestly, no one should read too much into the results of the poll in this regard: when even politically unaware Americans think of a woman president, Hillary comes to mind; when they think of a black president, Obama usually comes to mind (and maybe Jesse Jackson).  Thus, those who have a negative opinion of Hillary might respond negatively about a woman president in the poll--even though they might vote for a different woman president if given the choice.

Meanwhile, American voters have a habit of telling pollsters that they will vote for an African-American--and then go vote their racial prejudice in the privacy of the booth.

Even so, however, if we take the poll at face value, a female candidate starts at a six point disadvantage behind a black candidate--and statisically equivalent to a Hispanic president, which is rather surprising given that Hispanics are the GOP xenophobic target-du-jour.

Even so, NONE of the Democratic frontrunner candidates in the field have anything CLOSE to the sorts of simply inherent personal negative attributes that the GOP field does.  No divorces.  No religious difficulties.  No age issues.  We can certainly argue that society should be free of such prejudices--but it isn't.  And we'll certainly take what we can get, since such prejudices usually work against us, rather than for us.


At any rate, this is BIG trouble for the GOP.  Their top candidates start with huge obstacles in their way--in addition to the nearly insurmountable obstacles created by Iraq, George Bush's personal identification with the GOP brand, Hurricane Katrina, economic malfeasance and generally bad government.

McCain's age is almost equivalent to homosexuality as a negative.  Giuliani's divorces are enough to kill his candidacy with one third of the American electorate.  And Romney's religion kills him with one fourth of the electorate.

Meanwhile, Hillary's gender isn't doing her favors--and may even be a bigger obstacle to her than Obama's skin color to him.

These are dark omens indeed for the GOP field, and for corporatist warmongers the world over.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

GOP ex-congressman from PA accused of flashing

I don't know how many people have seen this story yet--I just got to it, sadly, from Drudge. Apparently, a longtime Pennsylvania Republican congressman Joseph McDade, who served for 36 years in the House and now works (you guessed it) for a Washington lobbying firm, has been accused of exposing his private parts to two women at a beach resort on Sanibel Island.

The story comes from the Associated Press, but for convenience sake I'll use Drudge's link at Breitbart:

Joseph M. McDade, 75, was issued a summons on a charge of exposure of sexual organs, a misdemeanor that carries up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

A court date was not immediately set.

And this isn't the first time he's been in ethical and legal hot water. From Wikipedia:

In 1992, McDade was indicted on bribery charges. He was charged with racketeering and conspiracy after accepting gifts and trips in exchange for diverting government contracts to specific groups. Although the charges were dropped in 1996, they severely injured his image. McDade retired from the House in 1999.

Not much to say here--and of course, the accused is innocent until proven guilty.

But if the charges are borne out, it's just more of that old-time Republican family values showing through. It's hard to say how much impact this story will have in the long run; it probably won't be much, but it'll just add to the growing cloud of associations between the GOP and sexual indiscretions. If nothing else, it tarnishes the GOP brand in Pennsylvania even further.

It'll be interesting to see how many hits the "family-friendly" GOP image can take before it really hits home with the average American voter that these guys are not only economically corrupt, but sexually corrupt as well...

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Give Congressman Weiner your thanks

This post is simple, short and sweet. It's an an action piece with only one request. Call and email Congressman Weiner to offer him your thanks and support.

If you still don't know who he is from Markos' frontpage post today over at dKos, he's the guy who just made one of the most fantastic and hilarious speeches seen on the House floor, which you can view here:

As Magnifico says in the comments thread to Kos' post, Congressman Weiner is the only guy to whom Jon Stewart has sent a contribution--and now we can see why.

Quite frankly, I would vote for this guy for President in a heartbeat. If every Democratic candidate spoke as truthfully, as evisceratingly, as forcefully, and with as much disbelieving contempt for the "Republic" Party as this, we would be electorally invincible.

And not that I think a man with this much cojones really needs encouragement, but I think it would be wonderful if we all gave him a big round of applause and support--if not for him, then at very least to show the rest of the Democratic caucus the kind of support they can receive for truly speaking truth to power.

If you want to email him, his email address is:

I also called his office; it's closed over the weekend, but you can always leave a congratulatory voicemail.

Washington, D.C.
1122 Longworth HOB
Washington DC 20515
(202) 225-6616

District Office Addresses:

80-02 Kew Gardens Rd.
Suite 5000
Kew Gardens, NY 11415
(718) 520-9001

1800 Sheepshead Bay Road
Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 743-0441

90-16 Rockaway Beach Blvd.
Rockaway, NY 11693
(718) 318-9255

Show him some love, people...


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bremer's financial advisor: "What Difference Does it Make?"

You know, I think I just figured out what the real problem is with Republicans and their cronies: They just don't give a flying fuck.  Not about you, or me, or anybody else.  They are so utterly insensitive to the realities faced by ordinary Americans and ordinary Iraqis--hell, even to basic economic reality--that their actions really go beyond venal greed to the point of negligent stupidity.

How else, indeed, are we supposed to take the latest story from The Guardian about the missing $12 billion in vanished, unaccounted-for cash sent to Iraq?

We already know many of the spectacularly incompetent details, which the article lays out in brief form.  For those who aren't already aware, a little background is in order:

In the year after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363 tonnes, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries and US contractors. Using C-130 planes, the deliveries took place once or twice a month with the biggest of $2,401,600,000 on June 22 2004, six days before the handover.

Skipping ahead a bit:

"They also found that $774,300 in cash had been stolen from one division's vault. Cash payments were made from the back of a pickup truck, and cash was stored in unguarded sacks in Iraqi ministry offices. One official was given $6.75m in cash, and was ordered to spend it in one week before the interim Iraqi government took control of Iraqi funds."

The minutes from a May 2004 CPA meeting reveal "a single disbursement of $500m in security funding labelled merely 'TBD', meaning 'to be determined'."

The memorandum concludes: "Many of the funds appear to have been lost to corruption and waste ... thousands of 'ghost employees' were receiving pay cheques from Iraqi ministries under the CPA's control. Some of the funds could have enriched both criminals and insurgents fighting the United States."

Thankfully for us, Henry Waxman's oversight committee is kicking ass and taking names, as we saw yesterday.

Details of the shipments have emerged in a memorandum prepared for the meeting of the House committee on oversight and government reform which is examining Iraqi reconstruction. Its chairman, Henry Waxman, a fierce critic of the war, said the way the cash had been handled was mind-boggling. "The numbers are so large that it doesn't seem possible that they're true. Who in their right mind would send 363 tonnes of cash into a war zone?"

Good question, Mr. Waxman.  Who in their right mind, indeed?

Apparently, one retired Admiral David Oliver, who in 2004 became Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for EADS North America, which describes itself as "the U.S. holding company for the North American activities of EADS, the world's second largest aerospace and defense company, and the largest in Europe."

Mr. Oliver who, according to his own resume was the "Director of Management and Budget for the Coalition Forces" says that where the money went just isn't important:

Bremer's financial adviser, retired Admiral David Oliver, is even more direct. The memorandum quotes an interview with the BBC World Service. Asked what had happened to the $8.8bn he replied: "I have no idea. I can't tell you whether or not the money went to the right things or didn't - nor do I actually think it's important."

Did you hear that, everyone?  $12 billion dollars in cash JUST ISN'T THAT IMPORTANT.  I know, I'm incredulous, too.  So was the reporter this guy talked to:

Q: "But the fact is billions of dollars have disappeared without trace."

Oliver: "Of their money. Billions of dollars of their money, yeah I understand. I'm saying what difference does it make?"

Because of course, Iraqi money--like Iraqi blood--is expendable.  It doesn't really matter where it goes, or how much is lost.  What matters is simply that it gets distributed, preferably in large unclotted gobs, all across the Iraqi countryside.  The more the merrier to grease the wheels of industry and war.  And heck, it's not really our money, so who cares, right?


But there's a bigger lesson in all this as well.  This is Republican trickle-down, laissez-faire economics in its rawest and most unadulterated form.

Here's how it works:

1) Take money from the people;

2) Distribute it in large sums without accountability to those with wealth and power;

3) Assume that it will trickle back down to the people in the form of jobs.

You cannot claim a greed or profiteering motive for this kind of attitude in this situation.  It is, after all, Iraqi money being distributed to Iraqis.  Not a cent of this money, so far as we know, made its way back into the hands of Bremer, Oliver, or the American military defense establishment.

No, its strict adherence to an ideology of selfishness, greed and ignorance that even a five-year-old would eschew.  A small child would know that you can't just give big gobs of cash to rich people and expect that the "free market" of good and services will just take care of everything.

It's easy to call it greed when it's the application of that ideology under Reagan and Bush in America.  But it's another thing entirely to do so when no American receives a dime of the money in question.  When you find the same ideology of evil corruption being intentionally instituted with all the insouciance of a Marie Antoinette, but there's no quid for that quo, you kind of have to look beyond sheer greed and corruption.

At that point, you really have to look at intellectual and moral failings so grandiose that they walk a fine line between sheer stupidity and blatant sociopathy.  What else can you say to people whose twin ideas for "winning" a "war" that's not really a war at all, are

1) kill enough iraqis that the killing stops; and

2) Slosh around a bunch of cash to random powerful officials.

It's absolutely insane.  My only question is, how did such a bunch of rabidly insane, stupid sociopathic assholes every get in power in the first place?

Or is that also one of those unimportant questions that doesn't make a difference?

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Another Ugly Betrayal of American Heroes

It seems that every day brings another example of the Bush Administration's betrayal of those who place their lives at risk in the service of the nation. They betray out men and women in uniform. They betray our undercover CIA agents for political reasons.

Now, it appears, they are betraying the safety of our undercover ATF agents in order to pinch pennies.

Many of you may remember the famous case of the ATF agent who infiltrated the criminal Hells Angels gang, leading to the conviction of 16 high-level members of the gang. Incredibly, that agent, Jay Dobyns, has been left to fend for himself by the ATF, which has refused to grant him special protection.

And why? To save the ATF a few dollars, all while Bush submits budgets demanding $8 billion every goddamn month for Iraq. I know it sounds preposterous--but then, nothing is beyond this government when it comes to betraying those who work hardest and matter most.

From the article (whose full text I highly encourage you all to read):

With his undercover work done and his real identity as a law enforcement agent exposed, Dobyns says the Hells Angels and other gangs enlisted by it came after him, issuing death threats. Dobyns claims that the ATF -- rather than protecting him -- abandoned him.

"There was a murder contract on me and there was what was called a green light list, which was circulating in the prison, which was a list of people that various gangs wanted killed," Dobyns told CNN.

In response, Dobyns says, the ATF gave him a routine transfer with no special protection, despite his repeated protests. The ATF could have moved Dobyns and his family under what is known as a "threat policy" -- similar to the kind of protection the government routinely gives witnesses in organized crime cases.

And why not place this American hero into special protection?

But federal agents who go undercover don't automatically get a high level of protection, according to Dobyns and other ATF agents CNN interviewed.

"In order to save money, I was told it wasn't cost effective," Dobyns says.

Dobyns says he has moved himself and his family several times to elude those who've threatened to kill him. He has filed a claim with the ATF for the emotional stress and financial burden he says he's had to bear as a result.

So this man, who put his life on the line in more ways than one for his country, has found it necessary to move his family multiple times on his own dime because the ATF refuses to honor his service by helping keep him alive. But then, this is the same administration that puts soldiers into the line of fire without adequate body armor, vehicle armor or sandbags. Most galling, however, is that we could fully protect this man with the amount of money it takes to fund just one minute of the Occupation of Iraq.

And it's not just him, either. Multiple agents say that the ATF's penny-pinching has put their lives at risk:

But more than a dozen former and current ATF agents interviewed by CNN, many of whom have their own lawsuits, claims and serious concerns, said the ATF is failing to protect its agents.

Charlie Fuller is a 23-year retired veteran ATF special agent and a former top trainer of undercover agents, who wrote a manual on undercover work, "The Art of Undercover." He trained Dobyns and many other top ATF undercover agents.

"What happened to Dobyns is not an isolated incident," said Fuller. In many cases, he said, managers don't thoroughly understand the complexity of the undercover work or how to best work with and manage the agents once they're back in the real world.

He said agents are seen as troublemakers or retaliated against if they raise complaints or report problems.

It's Bunnatine Greenhouse and Valerie Plame all over again. Bust your butt and risk your life for America; get betrayed by the Bush Administration; get punished for blowing the whistle. Meanwhile, the oil companies rake in profits like never before, and the cost of Bush's war of choice escalates out of control.

I wish I had a pithy comment or insightful observation to make from here; I don't. All I have is anger against those who betray our nation's heores; passion to remove them from office as quickly and efficiently as possible; and the resolve to try to pick up the pieces of broken trust with which they have littered the landscape of American consciousness.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

What the Hell Do They Want?

I just don't get it. Any attempt I make to even figure out the motives of the NeoCon cabal falls short at this point. What the hell are they trying to accomplish anymore with their foreign policy? Do they themselves even know at this point, or are they just going through the motions?

We know full well that they are doing everything they can to start a war with Iran. That much is clear. Every day brings two or three more reports on the latest attempt to escalate tensions with Iran diplomatically, strategically, militarily, and otherwise. But to what end?

It's an important point to raise, because you can only really negotiate with people who have a certain end or goal in mind. In the world of realpolitik, it is assumed that everybody has a price. Everybody has a motive. Everybody has something they are trying to accomplish, some direct policy objective they want fulfilled. That's what enables compromise.

One cannot come to the political discussion table with an opponent you truly believe to be a villainous psychopath. That is, after all, what many in wingnut circles say about talking diplomatically to certain people in the Middle East--and there's an element of truth in that. There is absolutely no point attempting to engage in compromise, diplomacy or politics as usual with the insane and insatiable.

Well, I think I'm starting to reach that point with the Bush Administration. I can't figure out what the hell they even want anymore--especially when it comes to attacking Iran.

Let's look at the possible motivations for attacking Iran, shall we?

1. Oil Profiteering. Sorry, but that motive doesn't fly. Today brings news that Exxon-Mobil has set record profits for ANY U.S. business, totaling $39.5 BILLION--and that Royal Dutch Shell isn't far behind. They can't profit much more than they already are in the short term. There are no words for the sort of greed it would take to attempt to increase those profits through a hair-brained foreign policy scheme that is almost certain to backfire.

And while it is certainly true that oil supplies are dwindling over the long term as we debate whether we may or may not have already passed the point of peak oil, the point remains the same: there is at least enough oil for the next 15 years to keep the oil companies rolling in obscene amounts of cash. That's more than enough time to await a homegrown Iranian revolution against the mullahs to open up its oil supplies, which would be a far better bet if I were an oil executive than any sort of military action. It just doesn't make sense.

2. National Defense. The NeoCons know good and goddamn well that Iran is at least eight years away from a nuclear weapon of any kind--and those may be liberal estimates. That's why they're doing everything they can to suppress intelligence estimates and out CIA agents who might spill the beans about their unnecessary (not to mention illegal and immoral) drumbeat towards war. Iran isn't about to attack the United States or its allies. Iran isn't about to give Hezbollah nuclear weapons. They know it. We know it. The "national defense" pretense is a sham.

3. Religious Armaggedon. It is difficult to judge the possibility of religious motivation by these people. Certainly, much of their base believes the world is coming to an end, and cannot wait to have a full-blown World War III conflict with the Muslim World in defense of Israel, in the hopes that the Palestinians will be destroyed and the Temple in Jerusalem rebuilt. But Ahmadinejad makes a weak and very sorry-looking Anti-Christ, while the majority of the conflicts in the Book of Revelation are supposed to occur around New Babylon (Iraq). Persia (Iran) doesn't really figure into the equation in most end-times prophecies. Further, I don't believe that most of the people who actually pull the strings in the Administration believe any such things.

Meanwhile, if I were a religious millennarian freak who wanted to bring about Biblical prophecy, wouldn't I hope for Iran to give a nuclear bomb to Palestinian terrorists, who would then set it off in Israel--thereby causing mass ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and triggering religious reactionism in Israel leading to de-Islamification and rebuilding of the Temple in place of the Dome of the Rock? The last thing I would want, if I believed in such prophecies and in Iran's desire to do such a thing, would be to stop them.

It just doesn't make sense.

4. The Oil Bourse in Euros. Remember that big Iranian Oil Bourse that was supposed to open in March 2006? It didn't happen. And it doesn't look like it's going to, either. Iran doesn't have its structural or economic act together enough to pull it off anytime soon--and even if they did, it wouldn't actually have that great an impact on the influence of the petrodollar. If the threat of the Iranian-based PetroEuros ever was scaring the Administration, I doubt very much that it is anymore.

5. Iranian Influence in Iraq. Hahahahahahaha, that's a good one. The Administration may be desperate to frame the Iranians for troubles going on in Iraq, but they don't actually believe it. Next, please.

6. Obtaining a U.S.-friendly democratic state in Iran. It's pretty clear to me that even the most deluded NeoCon in the world couldn't possibly believe, after what has happened in Iraq, that Iranians would overthrow their mullahs in the wake of U.S. bombings and proclaim their undying love for democracy and for the United States. Even they know that attacking Iran will have results ranging from World War III to increased terrorism and hatred of the United States. We sure as hell won't be greeted as liberators--and they know it.

7. Furthering the Military-Industrial Complex. Sorry, but no. There is an excellent documentary called Why We Fight that chronicles the role of the MIC in perpetuating U.S. backed wars. But that argument really fails the smell test for Iran: after all, the MIC can barely keep up with the amount of damage being done to military infrastructure in Iraq. It certainly doesn't need another massive conflict to support its operations--it has its hands full as it is. That goes for Halliburton and Bechtel, too.


What then, could their objective in attacking Iran possibly be?

Is it really true that they're willing to roll the dice, hoping they get doubles sixes, simply in order to satiate an inexorable greed for which we would have to generate an entirely new vocabulary?

Is it simply that Bush/Cheney are looking to salvage their presidency just by throwing shit on the wall? I think that's unlikely, given the length of time that the Iran war plans have been in the works.

Are they crazed religious nutballs? Color me unconvinced. They're evil, Machiavellian assholes--but I doubt they're really Messianic in their beliefs.

Are they truly so terrorized by the events of 9/11 that they really believe in starting World War III and earning global denunciation in pursuit of the One Percent Doctrine?

Are they so desperate to make their plan in Iraq work that they would be willing to start a war with Iran just to see what happens?

What the hell are they even trying to do here? What the hell do they want?

Or are they just insane, insatiable bastards who are looking to invade one OPEC country after another just because they can?

And if so, what options outside of forcible removal from office do we, as responsible American citizens, have left?

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