Saturday, June 05, 2004


Friday, June 04, 2004

Simply Brilliant

Issue of 2004-06-07
Posted 2004-05-31
Knowledge is not important. The armchair warrior strives to attain a state beyond knowledge, a state of deep, non-knowing connection to the universe: in particular, to that portion of the universe which is rich, powerful, or related to him by blood.

The unenlightened speak of “failures of intelligence.” But the armchair warrior knows that “intelligence”—the effort of the mind to observe facts, apply reason, and reach conclusions about what is true and what ought to be done—is a delusion, making the mind turn in circles like an ass hitched to a mill. The armchair warrior feels in his hara, or gut, what ought to be done. He is like a warhorse that races into battle, pulling behind him the chariot of logic and evidence. When the people see the magnificent heedlessness of his charge, they cannot help but be carried along.

The warrior spirit resides in the hara. It is this spirit, and not any deed, that is the mark of the true warrior. Thus, a man who has avoided military service may be a greater and braver warrior than a man who has served his country in battle, sustained grave wounds, performed “heroic” deeds, and been honored with clanking, showy medals pinned to his garment.

Because human beings are prone to illusion, the sounds and sights of battle—the groans of the wounded, the maimed bodies of one’s comrades—may remain in the mind for many years, like a cloud that confuses judgment. Hence, a man who has fought on the battlefield and has later risen to high office may be fearful of leading his people to war. Such weakness does not afflict the armchair warrior, who at all times is firm in his resolve.

The armchair warrior does not fear death, especially not the death of other people.

The unenlightened mind is easily swayed by pictures. Since it fails to grasp that life and death are illusions, the sight of the flag-draped remains of those slain by the enemy may make it susceptible to weakness and feelings of pity. Therefore, the armchair warrior does not let the people see such images, except in settings that can be properly controlled, such as his own campaign advertisements.

Luxury is the enemy of Bushido. It saps the strength of the people and makes them weak and complacent. Therefore, the armchair warrior strives to take wealth away from the poor and the middle classes and give it to the wealthy, who are already so weakened that they are beyond help.

So-called wise men complain that the armchair warrior is producing “deficits,” emptying the coffers of the state and sinking it ever deeper into indebtedness to usurers and foreign moneylenders. In their “wisdom,” these so-called wise men are like the scholar who came to speak with Nan-in. Pretending to ask a question, the scholar flaunted his learning for ten minutes while Nan-in, attending politely, brewed a pot of tea. When the master filled the scholar’s cup, he kept pouring until the tea overflowed the cup, ran onto the table, and dripped to the floor, forming a great puddle.

The scholar, astonished, asked the meaning of Nan-in’s action. “The mind is like this cup,” said Nan-in. “If you do not empty yourself, how can you expect to be filled?” The coffers of the state, too, are like the cup. If they are not frequently emptied, how can they be filled? Thus, the warrior takes it upon himself to empty the coffers of the state into the pockets of his friends, his relations, and other members of his class. Knowing well the corrupting power of luxury, he distributes these treasures with reluctance. They are accepted with equal reluctance. Yet not one among his fellows shirks his duty.

The goal of life is awareness; the goal of awareness is freedom. If the people of a foreign land do not wish to be free, it is the duty of the armchair warrior to force them.

The warrior strengthens his resolve and that of his followers by chanting sutras, mantras, or other strings of words, such as weaponsofmassdestruction or linkstoalqaeda or bringingdemocracytotheworld. It is not important that these words bear any relation to reality or even that they have any definite meaning. All that matters is that they be chanted repeatedly and with great urgency.

The Chinese word for “crisis” combines the characters for “danger” and “opportunity.” For the armchair warrior, the significance of this is clear. Every crisis is an opportunity, and the lack of crisis poses a grave danger. In crisis, the people turn to the warrior for guidance. Hence, if a crisis has not occurred, the warrior creates one. If a crisis is subsiding, the warrior inflames it. The seventy-third hexagram of the I Ching is interpreted as follows: “Two towers fall. When smoke fills the people’s eyes, they can be led anywhere.”

Once, a group of travellers were on a perilous journey, in the course of which they had to cross a river. Unluckily, their guide forgot the location of the bridge, so the party had to ford the river, which, at the place they then found themselves, was shallow but very wide. After several minutes of wading through the icy water, the travellers began to grumble, “This guide is worthless! Let us abandon him and find another!” Sensing the discontent of his charges, the guide cleverly led them into a deeper part of the river, where the current was stronger and the footing more treacherous. “Help us!” the travellers cried. “Esteemed guide, do not abandon us!”

The unenlightened believe it to be the height of felicity to have no enemies. The armchair warrior knows, however, that only a steady supply of enemies can assure him the loyalty of his friends. When so-called wise men warn him that in rashly slaughtering his enemies he is merely manufacturing more of them, he smiles.


Thursday, June 03, 2004

Bush Knew About Leak of CIA Operative's Name

Witnesses told a federal grand jury President George W. Bush knew about, and took no action to stop, the release of a covert CIA operative's name to a journalist in an attempt to discredit her husband, a critic of administration policy in Iraq.

Their damning testimony has prompted Bush to contact an outside lawyer for legal advice because evidence increasingly points to his involvement in the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to syndicated columnist Robert Novak.

Bush Knew About Leak of CIA Operative's Name

It just gets better and better, or worse and worse, depending on whether you think the Bush* Cartel will allow an election they are going to lose...

Mole in our Midst

Finally, a grand unified theory that explains Bush's domestic and international policies. Little did we know.
By Matthew Yglesias
Web Exclusive: 06.02.04

Surveying the vast wasteland that George W. Bush has made of American governance, even the most sophisticated observer is driven to ask, like the simple son at a Passover seder, what is all this?

The most compelling hypothesis so far is that we have not one president but two. Or, rather, two shadow presidents. Domestic policy is the land of Karl Rove -- ruthless, cynical, malign yet cunning. As Paul O'Neill has told us, politics trumps principle at every turn, and rather than the agenda of small-government conservatism, liberal ideas and programs are turned into a disciplined machine aimed at securing Republican hegemony and corporate profits.

Abroad, however, we are in Dick Cheney's world, where grand visions meet a naïveté that would be almost touching had it not gotten so many people killed. In both domains, a disregard for the facts dominates, but whereas the home front features well-crafted lies aimed at securing the president's political future, on foreign policy the administration seems to be genuinely out of touch with reality. I, myself, badly misjudged the Iraq War out of false overestimation of Bush's cynicism. Surely, I thought, the naysayers were wrong and the war would turn out well, for it clearly wasn't in the president's political interest to produce the current debacle.

But while the “two presidents” theory has some merit, it is unsatisfying both intellectually and emotionally. As in physics, where quantum field theory and general relativity coexist uneasily, we yearn for a grand unified theory of Bushism that would put the two halves of the agenda together. Now, at last, with the revelation that Ahmad Chalabi has been passing intelligence information to the regime in Iran, the opportunity presents itself to construct just such a unified theory. The truth, hard as it is to accept, is that Bush is an Iranian agent.
Mole in Our Midst

Great fun...

So, Bush* Lawyers Up and Tenet Resigns...

Nothing to see here, move along.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

BUSH* Lawyers Up??

ABC News is reporting that Bush* has "contacted" outside counsel about the Plame treason...

May get interesting, indeed.

The Fan and the "Stuff"

No single source I can point to, not much more than a hunch based on background noise, but I think the Cheney/Halliburton shit is about to hit the fan.

This "Administration" has made so many internal enemies in Government Agencies it's phenomenal, and those enemies are going to be active between now and November. The screwing that the troops at CIA and State have taken is well known, but there are equally unhappy folks in EVERY Agency. EPA employees don't want to skew rules to allow MORE pollution, Interior folks, by and large, LIKE forests and rivers and such. The political appointees and their henchmen can force and bully, and the rank-and-file can leak.

I'll bet the leakers win, and I think Cheney is the first target.

World War II??

South Knox Bubba is on the right track:

...but he forgot about it being considered "poor form" in those days to blatantly "profiteer" off the war...

And the scrap metal recycling drives.

How about a bullet drive?? Since we are using ammo faster than we can make it, why not support the War on Terriers by donating all that .223 and .308 ammo you have laying around?? That way wing-nuts can actually do more than talk about "Supporting the Troops"...

A Draft, By Any Other Name...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army has issued an order preventing thousands of soldiers designated for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan from leaving the military even when their volunteer service commitment expires, officials said on Wednesday.
The move to extend the service of some soldiers involuntarily was the latest sign of increasing stress on the Army as the Pentagon strives to maintain adequate troop levels in the two conflicts.

Lt. Gen. Franklin Hagenbeck, the Army's personnel chief, denied that the move was a sign of desperation for the Army, although he did acknowledge that the Army was "stretched."

Army Issues Order to Stop U.S. Soldiers from Leaving

This is a draft, the coward's way. It amounts to drafting those least likely to vociferously object, and who are already trained up.

Why aren't supporters of Bush's* War signing up in droves to make this unnecessary??

Soldiers who voluntarily joined for an agreed period should not be screwed over because of an undeclared, illegal war.

For The Record

If Republican whoredom allows a catastrophe to happen that could have been prevented, may there never again be any Officeholder in this Country that calls themselves a "Republican".

Concerns rise over chemicals as targets
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | June 1, 2004

WASHINGTON -- Homeland Security watchdogs call them "prepositioned weapons of mass destruction" for terrorists: huge tanks of concentrated deadly gases that the chemical industry stores near densely populated areas and that railroads bring through cities en route to somewhere else.

The United States harbors more than 100 chemical facilities where an accident would put more than a million people at risk, according to documents filed with the Environmental Protection Agency. One is in Boston: A chemical distributor acknowledged in its filing that in a worst-case scenario if a tank holding 180,000 pounds of vinyl acetate -- a highly flammable liquid -- ruptured, it would send a 4.9-mile-long toxic cloud through the city.

As federal security officials warn that Al Qaeda is poised to strike the United States again, the presence of these highly toxic chemicals in the midst of cities may be the most vulnerable point in the nation's defenses. But proposals to reduce that risk by requiring the use of alternative chemicals or rerouting hazardous tankers around a city have faltered.

Fear of such an attack on a chemical facility prompted bipartisan momentum in Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks for requiring the chemical industry to switch to less dangerous processes where possible. Although many Republicans supported the measure initially, many changed their minds after intense industry lobbying, and the bill died on the Senate floor.

Concerns rise over chemicals as targets

I know a bit about chemical weapons, having served as a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Operations NCO for five years. To execute a significant outdoor attack with them requires a large quantity and a means of dispersal. Despite what the scare-mongers would have you believe, chemical weapons aren't Death Rays killing all before them. It takes a large amount to establish a lethal concentration (the military, using artillery, seeks a 50% rate) and more to maintain it. Assuming the Terriers make or acquire a viable weapon it would only be effective in an enclosed area, unless they are able to position a few gun batteries outside a city and maintain a fairly spry rate of fire for a while.

What they CAN do is cause one or more massive releases of toxic materials that we thoughfully stockpile for them. Most of the chemical storage areas in this Country are protected by a chain link fence and a Rent-a-Cop. Many are approachable in small boats. To fail to adequately secure these facilities to at least make it harder to carry out an attack with potentially devastating consequences is insane. To fail to adequately secure these facilities because your buddies in the Chemical Industry don't want to spend any money should be criminal.

I'll debunk "dirty bombs" later...

A Partial Explanation

CHICAGO -- A new study of 14 countries finds that the United States has the highest rate of mental illnesses, including anxiety disorders and depression.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston and the World Health Organization found that such illnesses are common and undertreated in many of the countries. The study results appear in Wednesday's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The countries surveyed from 2001-2003 included Colombia, Mexico, United States, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine, Lebanon, Nigeria, Japan, and China. Mental illness rates ranged from more than 26 percent of people in the United States to a little over 8 percent of people in Italy.

U.S. Tops In Mental Illness Rates, Study Finds

So, if 26% are "mentally ill", does that mean the other 17% or so who support Bush* are just morons??

Just asking...

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

A Modest Proposal

The guy in this picture, Joe Privatera, got himself arrested for this protest.

Wouldn't it be fun to see 1,000 similar protests in NYC every day of the Republican Convention?? People standing all over the city with hoods and ponchos, just quietly standing there??

Nothing to See Here, Move Along

Posner elaborates in startling detail how U.S. interrogators used drugs - an unnamed "quick-on, quick-off" painkiller and Sodium Pentothal, the old movie truth serum - in a chemical version of reward and punishment to make Zubaydah talk. When questioning stalled, according to Posner, CIA men flew Zubaydah to an Afghan complex fitted out as a fake Saudi jail chamber, where "two Arab-Americans, now with Special Forces," pretending to be Saudi inquisitors, used drugs and threats to scare him into more confessions.

Yet when Zubaydah was confronted by the false Saudis, writes Posner, "his reaction was not fear, but utter relief." Happy to see them, he reeled off telephone numbers for a senior member of the royal family who would, said Zubaydah, "tell you what to do."The man at the other end would be Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, a Westernized nephew of King Fahd and a publisher better known as a racehorse owner. His horse War Emblem won the Kentucky Derby in 2002). To the amazement of the U.S., the numbers proved valid. When the fake inquisitors accused Zubaydah of lying, he responded with a 10-minute monologue laying out the Saudi-Pakistani-Osama triangle, according to the book.


Probably just some undisciplined Reserve MPs...