Sunday, July 26, 2009



Hitler suffered several setbacks to his invasion, including the Greek situation. These were important, and might have made the difference, but there were other essential ingredients to the failure of Operation Barbarossa.

Hitler unquestionably believed that his army would wrap up the campaign in three months, and he might have been right under ideal conditions. After all, his victories in the West had stunned the world, and he genuinely believed the Russians were untermensch, incapable of competing with Germans. And, as it proved, Stalin went into a drunken stupor after the initial success of the Germans, and no Russian general dared make a major move not approved by Stalin.

Hitler started the invasion believing in a fantasy idea of the abilities of Russians, and anyone who undertakes a great destructive task motivated by fantasy usually fails, just as the Crusaders centuries before. But it is important to keep in mind that Hitler’s racial fantasies were perhaps no sillier or less factual than the religious beliefs of many: he was not mad – several psychiatric studies have said so - but he had a foolish, superstitious, and destructive faith.

Germany's taking over the best Russian lands - without their people or with the people reduced to slaves - was unquestionably Hitler's great mission in life. All else was prologue. He believed he was a kind of savior for the German people in achieving their destiny.

Germany’s destiny, as he saw it, was to be able to do what America had done in building a vast empire that ultimately created the kind of economies of scale in its markets to be a great economic force in the world. Hitler understood these principles, and he knew America had had a relatively easy time of it, facing weak opponents like native people and Spanish settlers.

That is why he insisted on absolute ruthlessness in the Russian invasion: while he had contempt for Russians as people, he knew the numbers were not on his side.

He knew the invasion would be very bloody, and that is why he used it as a cover for the beginning of the Holocaust. He not only believed that the death camps would be lost in the noise and horror of the greatest battle of all time, but his strange religion caused him to believe that, with young Germans dying in the East, it was somehow right that the Jews’ numbers should be reduced.

Hitler’s underrating of the Russians included military technology, but, while Germany was in many areas more advanced, the Russians produced some very effective weapons, including perhaps most importantly the T-34 tank. Stalin also kept vast armored reserves hidden in the East, reserves of which Hitler was not fully aware. They proved decisive when the Germans had expended their first great energy.

Winter played a role in Hitler’s defeat of course, but the fierce heroism of the Russians stunned the world as well as Hitler.



Israel has always been the main obstacle to a fair peace, and the reason for that is its desire to absorb the West Bank and Gaza without the people living there, as well as its desire to control events for a thousand miles around.

Israel's idea of negotiations - under every government, left or right - has been that the other side should make every major concession before "talks" can even begin, a rather ridiculous position for any negotiation.

With the threats against Iran, Israel's desire to control events everywhere for a thousand miles around has reached its most dangerous period.

An attack on Iran, a country which has attacked no one in its entire modern history, would be absolutely destabilizing to the world. In constantly threatening this, Israel is beginning to resemble a black hole absorbing everything around it.

It has attacked at one time or another every neighbor it has. It has violated international law and agreements again and again, including building its own threatening nuclear force and, in the past, assisting nuclear proliferation through its arrangements with apartheid South Africa.

It isn't satisfied that Bush destroyed Iraq, in large part for Israel's benefit, it wants a list of other places neutralized or destroyed. Sharon asked for attacks on Iran and Syria too.

A nuclear Iran would actually benefit peace in the region, just as MAD kept peace in Europe through decades of turmoil. Israel would lose its absolute threat over all its neighbors and might even become amenable to a realistic peace.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009



"The best books and songs and poems and plays do not get written, nor works of art crafted, because of state subsidy."

This is an old and tired argument, especially popular in American right-wing circles.

It is superficially true if you imagine a kind of Monty Python post-office official doling out grants to struggling artists.

But reality is far more complex.

History gives us a much more sophisticated view about the creation of art and subsidy.

Without the patronage of the great dukes and cardinals (the government of the day), the Italian Renaissance would have been a far more sparse artistic period.

Great writers and composers in Britain and Germany benefited from the same kind of sources. Shakespeare had a lordly patron, and both Beethoven and Mozart benefited from patrons and trusts set up by admiring men of influence.

Even in America, we have evidence to the contrary of this proposition. The WPA during the great depression subsidized many artists, and in American cities you can still find some of the very handsome results in public monuments, buildings, and photographic collections.

Simplistic propositions, I'm afraid, always reveal simplistic minds.

Monday, July 20, 2009



Reach for the stars? What does that mean?

This piece is a pile of tired newspaper clichés.

Stunning as it was, the landing on the moon was in many ways the least important event of the space age.

I am a great fan of science and exploring space, but the moon landing was a gigantic, unbelievably costly public-relations stunt.

The robot missions Europe and the US have sent to the planets in recent decades have made astounding discoveries, as have the magnificent telescopes and other exotic instruments placed into earth orbit.

We have completely revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos with these missions.

Apollo was a one-off dead-end project, immensely impressive like a gigantic fireworks display, but the actual hard science of the Apollo mission(s) was minimal, nothing that robots could not have done far better and far more cheaply.

When I was a boy I loved stories of traveling to planets, but Apollo turned out to be nothing like those stories, and with my adult understanding I realize how immensely more our limited resources can achieve by robot technology and new sophisticated instruments in space.

The notion of sending men to Mars any time in the foreseeable future only makes me think of the early-astronaut expression for flying in earth orbit, spam in a can.



The author makes some very good points.

Here's another very important one he missed.

Wind turbines provide intermittent power, and they are completely incapable of ever replacing what energy analysts call base-load power.

Base-load power comes from nuclear or coal or hydroelectric: it is power that is produced and may be called upon twenty-four hours a day.

Wind turbines operate - like 17th century sailing ships - only when there is sufficient wind. In most locations this is only a fraction of the day.

Another important point: wind-generated power costs about twice as much per unit of energy as some of our conventional sources.

So wind power is both unreliable in the timing of its availability and costly for what you get. Indeed, some research starting to emerge seriously questions the economic rationality of massive wind turbine projects like those in Germany.

Saturday, July 18, 2009



Sorry, Mr. Gibson, there is no moral debate here.

I find it stunning that anyone living in a free country could even pose this question seriously.

The example of Israel is perfect. Israel has secretly, as well as in public, murdered those it calls enemies for decades.

And where has this taken Israel? Israel has no peace. Israel today has the worst reputation in the advanced world as a place of fairness and decency. And Israel gradually sinks lower and lower into a murky abyss of ghastly ethics and democratic values.

We have the witness of Israeli soldiers as to the horrible Nazi-like words with which they were prodded in advance of the Gaza invasion.

Indeed, it is a legitimate question whether Israel as we know it can long continue. The CIA only recently predicted that it would change in 20 years into something else, with many of American and European dual-nationals returning to the lands of their birth.

There is simply no question about these results. That's why Israel's defenders constantly today lash out at what they call anti-Semitism, calling the critics of human abuse haters.

You cannot have a society of laws and justice when you are unwilling to live by such laws yourself. The US has fallen into this same moral pit with its international torture gulags and its assassinations.

This kind of murder is absolutely no different to some rogue cops secretly executing the people they regard as criminals. It is no different to the ghastly work of death squads in Brazil going through poor areas of cities murdering children at night. And it is no different to the past several juntas in South America who made thousands “disappear” by kidnapping them and dumping them out of planes over the ocean.

God, the most precious thing we have achieved over countless centuries of ghastly murder and conflict is a society of laws and defined rights. How damnable that anyone would even toy with the idea of destroying that.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009



And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.

We know perfectly well that America has been using drones and Hellfire missiles to kill many people, without charge or trial or conviction of anything.

Remember, too, Rumsfeld's bloody Nazi-like words about killing or walling away America's al Qaeda prisoners in Afghanistan.

It wasn't long after that that 3,000 prisoners disappeared.

They are said to have been loaded into trucks and driven out into the desert to suffocate, then being buried in mass graves. This was done by one of the warlord's men while American soldiers watched and picked their noses.

And let's not forget the war crime of the Iraq invasion. A million killed, a couple of million refugees created, a modern society set back for decades. Results no different to having used a few nuclear weapons against a people who did absolutely nothing against America.

So why would there be any hesitation over this? The American establishment has demonstrated a lawless disregard for international law for eight years.

Of course, there wasn't, and I'd bet it was that ghastly Dick Cheney who headed the operation and perhaps the new commander in Afghanistan who managed it.

America has no claim to any kind of ethics or democratic values in light of recent years.

The election of Obama has not changed this position at all, other than offering a friendly smile and a good mind in place of a pathetic lump.

A great deal of effort will be required to restore America's tattered reputation, and I see no efforts indicating that effort is underway.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Note to readers: this was written some years ago, but somehow I missed it when posting older pieces.


John Chuckman

Death in America does not come easily. That is, unless you are homeless or live on an Indian reservation or in one of the nation’s vast urban ghettos or are one of tens of millions of working poor with the kind of health insurance that features exceptions instead of coverage. In all these cases, likely few will note your passing. Losers don’t count in America, except at Fourth-of-July speeches by congressmen in tight races.

Anyone living in the United States must acclimatize to massive public displays of grief. Actually, “public displays of grief” is an inadequate term, for, apart from their Hollywood production values, they seem often to have a starkly political character.

But the subject is complex, and some of its ridiculous aspects reflect a society where beauty contests for five-year-olds in mascara and half-time football shows are cultural events. There is also a business aspect, for grief like everything in America serves the greater “entrepreneurial spirit.”

And there is, amidst all the mess and clutter, a sense of loneliness and anger that comes through, the echoes of life in a society of flourishing Social Darwinism. This last aspect will be the subject of a future essay.

Have you ever noticed the way Americans refer to any event involving death as a “tragedy?” This usage reflects the attitude of people who think they’ve banished death in their child-like enjoyment of measureless entitlements. Death must be really special, and so it is always a “tragedy.”

This word usage also reflects the political correctness that muffles all discussion of serious topics in America with a dense, fluffy coating of euphemism. It’s callous to talk honestly about something like death in America. Such talk may even qualify as being unpatriotic.

Now, “tragedy” has a very specific meaning, and it has nothing to do with accidents or unhappiness or even tears. It has to do with heroic attempts at something worthy despite the fates having ruled that one must fail. All sense of this powerful word is lost in contemporary America.

When first built, the Vietnam memorial was a remarkably dignified statement of grief, that seemed, with its low profile, simple design, and dark color, to speak to both the shame and loss of a pointless war. It was a miracle that anything so thoughtful came out of those years of insane violence.

But the dignity couldn’t last long. Clumps of statues – including figures carefully representing every identifiable marketing segment of the voter population, always excepting gays and Arabs – are springing up like toadstools after a period of warm rain. And, of course, there has to be an “information center.” Dignity is gradually giving way to the ambiance of a Niagara Falls gift shop.

Endless photographs of people rubbing names onto paper or touching the surface with tremulous fingers or leaving teddy bears, an entire small library of coffee-table books full of such pictures, have almost turned the wall into an official national how-to display center for grief.

The private acts of individuals grieving are, or should be, just that, private. Overly-photographed, overly-televised, overly-written-about acts are not private, they are public – and not the public of solemn ceremony, but the public of performance or advertising. Americans often no longer seem to understand this distinction, or, as with so many things, they want it both ways.

We also have a fake wall that tours the country on a truck, as well as several hundred local mini-walls and fake walls in cities, towns, and states that feature subsets of the names on the wall in Washington. I am sure there are people who imitate what they’ve seen repeated over and over in magazines, movies, and on television when the fake wall pays a visit at the local Wal-Mart parking lot. Tremulous fingers rub names on a plastic wall inside a truck.

To placate veterans of another hideous, pointless war, “the Korean conflict,” yet another wall was built – this one far less subtle or interesting, perhaps reflecting its being a rushed after-thought. This one unfortunately resembles a huge Russian-gangster tombstone with faces etched on dark granite. It comes with an army of life-size aluminum soldiers, “Joes,” (wasn’t that the name used by the cute little Korean lads always asking the generous Americans for chocolate in all the “B” movies about Korea?) grimly trudging along.

Soon we will have the grandest memorial of all – a gigantic pile of rock slabs and flags and men’s and ladies’ rooms honoring World War II. The artist’s renderings suggest a bowling-tournament trophy built on the scale of Egypt’s Great Pyramid. This eyesore is to be assembled after fleets of Sikorsky helicopters drop the required eighteen million pounds of granite dead center of The Mall in Washington.

Support for this one came right from the grass roots, from the sale of t-shirts and baseball caps at Wal-Mart and smoky beer-socials at veterans’ posts. The resulting memorial has everything you’d expect short of beer-bellied figures in baseball caps and XXX t-shirts labeled “Proudly Made in the U.S.A.,” but, who knows, that may come over time.

Building ugly, expensive memorials is not limited to Washington. Nor is their subject matter limited to war. Walls of names at one time threatened to become as commonplace as fried-chicken outlets. Several airline crashes have their own versions.

Now, other conceptions have come into vogue, perhaps inspired by the massive aluminum “Joes” of the Korean-conflict memorial. For example, we have a memorial with scores of concrete posts down in a Florida swamp in memory of an airline crash.

If we were to build something like this for every victim of every crash (about 50,000 Americans die in automobile crashes alone each year), memorials would soon represent a serious pedestrian hazard, with people tripping over them or banging into them while talking on cell-phones.

But the strangeness of America’s public grief goes far beyond strange memorials. We have people who gather, in Busby Berkley re-creations of 1970 flower-child scenes, to throw flowers into the ocean years after the crash of an airliner or to light candles in bottles along miles of shore – not private, spontaneous acts of grieving, but choreographed displays, carefully documented on film to become spots on the evening news or the covers of magazines. Grieving here becomes an avenue to Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame.

Being a victim – or part of the subset, survivor – opens new prospects for even the humblest. Victims are interviewed, photographed, appear on day-time talk shows, travel, have books written about them, and often go on lecture circuits. They may even have agents. It’s pretty heady stuff, and it sure beats what most people do for a living.

Indeed, there is an almost irresistible movement in America to raise being a victim to the status of a profession. It is already an occupation.

Soon one or two dozen of America’s countless weird little colleges – places like the Bull Connor Memorial College for Christian Gentlemen, or the New Jersey Turnpike Drive-Through College for the Performing Arts – will offer courses and even degrees in victimhood and survivorship. Why not? You can get a degree in circus in America. Or a degree in recreational leadership. Or a degree in nothing. Four-year B.V.s just seem too good a business opportunity to be missed.

Most people in the world, following the loss of a loved one, seek peace or solace or some other definite and recognizable state of being. But in America, people seek “closure.” The quest to find an acceptable personal meaning for this undefined, self-help-book term is the starting point for many a career as victim or survivor.

Closure may come quickly or never – it is a very flexible concept, allowing for short, meteoric careers or more sustained, long-term ones. Some captives of the American embassy in Iran went on for more than a decade talking and writing about little more than being on the receiving end of what American armed forces are doing to Al-Qaeda prisoners in Cuba.

For about a year or two, every relative of every person affected by the Oklahoma City bombing was interviewed so many times that every ounce of pathetic remembrance was drained from them. I used to wince as soon as I heard the lead-in for another of these on National Public Radio. There was this awful mental image of reporters squeezing the ragged, pulpy scraps of an exhausted lemon to get a last drop of juice.

Of course, there are Oklahoma City victim support groups and associations of every description plus survivors’ reunions and home-coming events. Grief counselors – another field for combining grief and profit in America -streamed in for weeks, jamming the town’s airport and bus station. And probably upwards of four hundred books were published by and about victims. Victims can spend the rest of their lives just reading about themselves.

Again in Oklahoma City, there is the unavoidable colossal memorial – this time, it consists of a fleet of giant, ugly chairs that look as though no one would ever have wanted to sit on one.

Undoubtedly, the terrorist attack on New York will top all previous grief-events for intensity of as well as endurance. This promises to go on for decades. We already have decals, official logos, baseball caps, t-shirts, shorts, lapel pins, books, videos, electronic games, and framed prints. It is well on its way to spawning a major new industry of survivor-souvenirs and memorabilia. And a stupendous memorial is almost certainly in the works. Perhaps Disney will do a plastic copy to minimize the diversion of tourists to New York.

Now, don’t misunderstand. When the terrorists attacked, America deserved the world’s sympathy and help, and she richly received it. But now, quite apart from its being well past time for a grossly self-indulgent people “to get a life,” the country’s brutal, stupid response – undoubtedly killing more innocent people than died in the attack itself and causing more misery than can be imagined in such a poor land – means she has relinquished further claims to the world’s sympathy.

It’s hard to sympathize with people who insist on the very special, precious, eternal nature of their own loss, while failing even to notice what they do to others. The moral values here closely resemble those of certain survivors or victims in Texas who parade outside the prison during an execution and excitedly talk to newsmen about the closure someone’s death is bringing to their lives.

Closure on this one is going to be right off the scale and probably will take generations. At the heart of the matter, as someone perceptively noted, is that Americans want to be liked and just cannot understand why someone dislikes them so much. They could easily learn why if they only would listen to others, but that will not happen.

Not listening is something of a national characteristic, and there’s almost a sense of pride attached to it. But then, Americans are proud of a lot of loopy things, like the fact that B-2 bombers are such neat-looking, high-tech planes – totally ignoring the fact that each copy costs them about forty top-quality, well-equipped high schools and requires maintenance for every hour’s flying equal to the total annual salaries of several teachers.

Besides, the entire workforce of government and corporate media labor mightily day and night to keep emotions on the boil. CNN stupidly blares from every office and public place much like the tele-screens in 1984 reporting approved details of Oceania’s endless war. Outsiders are certainly not welcome. At all. Unless, of course, they’re sending troops or money.

There is simply no perspective in any of this. Every four or five years, Americans killing Americans generate enough names to fill the Vietnam memorial in Washington. They murder the same number of people who died in the World Trade Center every few months.

Indeed, until a recent, not well-understood decline in American homicides, this figure was enough killings just-over every two years to fill a new wall. Enough killings to equal the carnage of the World Trade Center about every six weeks (just a few years ago, murders ran at 1800 a year for New York city alone). That rate of killing created the equivalent of ten Vietnam walls in the first couple of decades after the war – all filled with names of Americans killed by Americans.

In the same state where tens of millions were spent on the Oklahoma City memorial, there is no memorial to, nor even much memory of, twice as many black Americans slaughtered in Tulsa by insane white mobs and dumped into mass graves during a rampage in the 1920s. Even their property was stolen, just as was the case for Japanese-American internees of concentration camps about twenty years later. Nor is there a memorial in the state of Florida where a similar event occurred.

The colossal brutality of American slavery receives no adequate memorial. The re-creations of slave auctions at colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, actually help soften the image of slavery, but even these silly play-acts by summer students in gingham are quite recent. Slavery at virtually all national historic sites was simply ignored.

Imagine the real auction blocks with slaves stripped naked to display their muscles. Or, in the case of females, to show other assets of interest to isolated plantation owners. Imagine the chained slaves defecating like horses as they are driven to or from the market in gangs. Imagine the stinking holds of ships where they were packed like cord wood, with the substantial numbers who died or got sick in shipment being tossed overboard as they were discovered. America has never come to terms with the immensity of slavery. Where’s the huge and piteous memorial owing here?

Something like two thousand kids a year are killed by child abuse in the United States – that’s another wall full of names since the end of the war in Vietnam – all children. But there is no wall provided.

Of course, the deaths of children and the documented abuse of literally hundreds of thousands more every year, doesn’t stop “pro-life” folks from weeping over fetuses. Never mind all those real kids in pain and difficulty, never mind all the homeless, never mind all the runaways and child prostitutes, and never mind all the families whose lives are no more than emotional vacuums – they’re murdering fetuses!

The bizarre outer limits of grief culture were reached when dozens of Americans gathered in Washington to weep over stem cells. Most of the mourners likely wouldn’t be able to offer a coherent definition of a stem cell, but that fact didn’t get in the way of their much photographed and televised grief. It wouldn’t surprise me if these people announce a special memorial to stem cells killed in New York labs by the terrorist attack.

Now, the discovery that a few middle-class children accidentally were killed each year by air bags created waves of publicity and demands for change. And change in the regulations came quickly. But the murder of an American child every few hours (until the recent decline, but the number is still shameful), often at the hands of another child in urban ghettos, generated only a flat-line graph on the monitor of national concern.

Executions in the United States elicit sympathy from some, but the death penalty is popular. Candidate Bush saw no political risk in making sophomoric remarks about people waiting to be executed in Texas. And there’s a well-known picture of him smirking during a remark about the upcoming death of a particular inmate.

America is still the only country to have used a genuine “weapon of mass destruction.” Twice. On civilians. Not much grief is ever expressed over that.
Actually, quite the opposite, as we are reminded at every commemoration of Pearl Harbor that the few thousand Americans killed in an attack on a military base more than justified the mass incineration of women and children, hospitals and schools.

One especially sensitive American reader recently wrote to tell me that the entire Middle East should have been reduced to radioactive glass after the attack on the World Trade Center, and that I should just mind my own business about it. Needless to say, such expressions of grief are touching.

Three to four million Southeast Asian people perished in the insane orgy of killing Americans call the Vietnam War, three hundred thousand went missing, and, over the years since, thousands of farmers have been crippled or killed by the mines and unexploded bombs left behind. Not to mention the unholy effects of an ocean of Agent Orange bubbling and gurgling its way through the water tables of Southeast Asia.

And yet, a quarter-century after that holocaust, there were news stories about whether the Vietnamese were being sufficiently cooperative in finding sets of American remains. Remains that by that time and in that place were surely nothing more than dust, buttons, and dental fillings.

This was just one of many demeaning rituals the American establishment put the Vietnamese through because of their intense rage at losing the war. But this absurd ritual of digging for dust and buttons was possible and took meaning precisely because Washington could exploit strange American attitudes towards death – virtually encouraging the pitiful, hopeless belief by a portion of the public in the survival of missing men – to support a vicious policy.

Every three days, cigarettes kill as many Americans as died in the World Trade Center. Does the Congress take serious action to suppress or better control cigarette smoking? Not really. Other countries have been far more imaginative and aggressive.

America’s courageous legislators leave most of the responsibility to the courts with state lawsuits whose very settlements presume continued heavy smoking and whose proceeds often are not even spent on smoking or health.

Now compare the daily, genuine menace of cigarettes with the threat of terrorism.

Despite the World Trade Center, an American’s chances of dying from terror are just about equal to slipping on a banana in the bathtub during a thunderstorm. Almost nonexistent.

Here was one event involving three thousand people out of a population of two hundred and eighty million, one event spread over a period of many decades of America’s controversy-filled dominance in world affairs. And that one event involved a series of unrepeatable favorable circumstances for the perpetrators, circumstances which actually reflect on the same glorious legislators’ unwillingness to attend to business before by mandating such simple measures as locked cabins and more professional inspection staff.

Yet after that one event, the good old boys in Congress instantly passed police-state legislation, negated many Constitutional protections, launched an undeclared war, ignored the Geneva Conventions, and stand ready to spend countless billions more.

It truly does make a remarkable difference who dies and under what circumstances in America.

Monday, July 06, 2009



McNamara may be the greatest modern example of the banality of evil.

He was, in his heyday, a dry, boring man with the appearance of a corporate executive who taught Baptist Sunday School classes.

He was very bright and energetic, but dry and boring, driven by an insane need for success and with no evident ethical standards beyond those associated with the ferociously ambitious.

The United States, under his advice and that of others like McGeorge Bundy, created the greatest holocaust since that of World War II.

An estimated three million Vietnamese were killed, many of them suffering horrible deaths from napalm and early versions of cluster bombs.

Carpet bombing by B-52s made parts of that poor country resemble the surface of the moon.

Left behind were millions of pounds of the hideous Agent Orange oozing through the ground to cause birth defects for perhaps centuries.

Left behind too were hundreds of thousands of land mines to cripple and kill farmers for decades after.

The reason for this horror? The Vietnamese were fighting a civil war and the side with the wrong economic beliefs was winning.

Of course, it also relates to America's penchant for obsessions, its Captain Ahab drive to chase and kill the great whale.

In the 1960s, it was communism.

Today it's Islamic fundamentalism.

In his later years, McNamara was a sad figure. He very much did come to regret his role. He was almost driven by the ghosts of all those dead souls.

Sunday, July 05, 2009



The latest word is that Palin resigned so abruptly owing to a new, yet-undisclosed scandal brewing.

It is said that an Alaskan building corporation called SBS was given the contract for building the arena in good old Wasilla, and in return it helped to build her rather impressive home.

A separate report indicates that the costly supplies were delivered from SBS while others actually built the home.

It is clear to anyone who has seem pictures of her home that it is beyond the means of this woman's meager achievements and large family and the high costs of building in Alaska.

No one who is thinking clearly believes her bizarre act was a political strategy. It simply is not the way politics are done in the U.S.

Candidates running for nominations virtually always retain their existing offices until the last possible moment.

Palin likely reached a secret deal with a prosecutor behind the scenes. We may never learn the full truth.

But we know from other events that her ethical standards are extremely flexible. The case of her wildly spending two hundred thousand dollars of other peoples' money during her campaign on designer clothes is the clearest example of many.

She was given an account for a modest topping up of her wardrobe, and promptly went on an insane buying spree buying stuff for her entire family.

McCain and establishment Republicans were outraged behind the scenes, but they managed to keep it reasonably quiet. She had to return the clothes and has no friends in that wealthy wing of the party.



“If I had to bet right now, I think we just saw the opening statement of the 2012 presidential race.”

Unbelievable, you quit your public post early, and that means you are running for president?

There must be something we do not know that has happened in her private or official life behind this.

It remains stunning that in such a powerful, rich country as the United States this woman would be taken seriously for even five minutes by any group larger than her immediate family.

Every time she opens her mouth a cliché falls out.

“It would be apathetic to just hunker down and go with the flow.”

Go with the flow? I think it’s called doing the job for which you were elected.

And her tiresome whimpering about “the real America.”

Haven't we had enough of the “the real America,” from every huckster and professional rustic in the Republican Party for decades?

"A recent CNN poll had Ms. Palin running neck and neck with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney."

Good God, the late freak Michael Jackson's name inserted into a poll in America would produce comparable results.

Besides, Mitt Romney is a stiff, cold, and unappealing man who spent twenty million dollars of his own money promoting himself and still failed.

“We are not retreating, we are advancing in another direction.”

Quoted from the lips of the very Douglas MacArthur who was ready to bomb China with nuclear weapons and whose drive to the border with China - despite many warnings - brought a million Chinese "volunteers" into the war.

Wasn’t eight years of the first certified moron president enough?


Phil Gramm and what his momma used to say about “getting’ down outta” the wagon to help push it?

Deadbeat Bush and his never having read the international section of the newspaper? Lamar Alexander and his rustic lumberjack campaign shirts (custom made)?

Nixon and his wife Pat’s “cloth Republican” coat? Privileged, spoiled flyboy McCain, son and grandson of admirals, and his regular guy look?

Dan Quayle and his “potatoe”?

Former Sen. Roman Hruska and his plea that members of the Supreme Court should reflect all qualities, including mediocrity?

Thursday, July 02, 2009



Lawrence Martin, this piece is a little pathetic.

I like Obama and wish him well, knowing full well no one can seriously alter the course of America's paranoid imperial policies.

After all, the combination of all the vested interests of the FBI, the CIA, the dozen other intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, America's Borgia-like wealthy clans, and its immense corporate interests reduce the voice of the people in an election to a little squib.

It's nice to see that charming smile at the White House, but it hardly compensates for all the things that are terribly wrong.

The Iraq withdrawal has turned into a game of words.

Fighting has intensified in Afghanistan.

America is busy interfering in Iran and lying about it.

Guantanamo continues, as do horrid places like Bagram Air Base.

The ugly laws of the Patriot Act continue.

Some military bureaucrat daily sits down to a control panel somewhere in the US and lines up a Predator Drone to fire Hellfire missiles down at some poor people in Pakistan who are promptly incinerated with no arrest, no trial, not even any proper charges. Then the operator happily goes to lunch, having done his morning’s work.

Israel got away with mass murder in Gaza, and now it continues to block entry even of building materials to help clean up the mess. More than a million tortured people and Obama doesn't say or do anything so far as we can see.



Hudak blubbering about Mike Harris sounds like the Ontario politics version of "Springtime for Hitler."



Preston Manning is personally responsible for bringing up Harper as his political protégé.

So far as I know, it is the only political act of substance for which Preston Manning can claim any legitimate credit in his entire lamentable career.

And it is precisely Mr. Harper's mean spirit, his divisive political practices, and his selective ethics that have altered our Parliament for the worse.

Now, that good old Preston is endowed with a pseudo-academic, mini-institute of his own - a personal propaganda platform, courtesy of oil money - he can play the philosopher, above the fray.

What a bad joke this man is.



This is just standard stuff in the Bible Belt.

Tiresome, really tiresome.

This idiot actually told us how he went to tell his mistress it was over, accompanied by "a spiritual advisor."

The problem, Dear Governor, is not in your spirit, it's in your glands.