Saturday, July 30, 2005

Bu$hCo's Jihad

I'm not the only one to find it ironic that a bunch of ideological extremists have relabeled their former "war against terror" as "the international struggle against ideological extremism." I saw this Daily Show segment earlier this week and nearly fell out of my chair. Bulldog Manifesto notices that struggle, kampf, and jihad mean the same thing in different languages. Agitprop observes that the White House is still confused as to what to actually rename their Jihad - but does have some suggestions:
How about Operation White Man's Burden or War Against Imperial Subjects?

Well, those are catchy.

And I'm left once again to wonder, what exactly are the differences between, say followers of Al Qaida and followers of Bu$hCo? Psychologically, they seem to be cut from very similar cloth. Let us count the ways:

  1. Strict adherence to authority-sanctioned norms (well call it "conventionalism").
  2. Fanatical devotion to their leaders and causes, leading to strict obedience among those followers and a demand for such obedience from their leaders.
  3. Unwillingness or inability to think about complex social problems in anything but the most simplistic terms (we might use a technical term "low cognitive complexity").
  4. A tendency to see authority-sanctioned violence as acceptable, necessary, as God's duty, etc. Hence, the single minded drive towards engaging in holy wars; hence, the use of terrorism (whether it's setting bombs off in a tube station or at a family planning clinic, or burning a cross in front of an ethnic minority's home it's the same damned thing). We'll call this "authoritarian aggression."
Get past the window-dressing of religious views and so forth, and you're really looking at folks with very similarly fanatical world views and a similar propensity to cause a great deal of human suffering.

Here's Bu$hCo's Base...

Or at least a substantial portion thereof. David Neiwert isn't the only blogger to look at hate groups as domestic terrorists, or to observe that they tend to receive little more than a wink and a nod from the current GOP brass. Susan Hu does something similar in her story Homegrown U.S. Terrorists. Let's see what she's rounded up:
Former Klansman Daniel Schertz, a 27-year-old from the southeast Tennessee town of South Pittsburg, was indicted in June on charges of building pipe bombs to kill Hispanic immigrants. (More from TBO/AP story, July 29, 2005, via Raw Story, below.)

[On June 3, 2005] Alabama Public Service Commissioner George C. Wallace Jr. [opened] the first day of the annual national convention of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a group whose Web site has referred to blacks as "a retrograde species of humanity." [H]is speech [received no] immediate coverage in the Alabama print or broadcast media. Southern Poverty Law Center

A gay couple's home was torched as hate crimes based on sex preference escalate in Florida, officials said. Science Daily/UPI, July 29, 2005
The Suffolk County Hate Crimes Bureau is looking for three young white males responsible for attacking a 61-year-old Hispanic male [on July 12]. The victim was pushing a shopping cart and collecting cans ... when he was approached by three males and a female [who] asked the victim if he had a green card qualifying the assault as a hate crime [said police] because it was based on his national origin. They began punching and kicking him after he replied “yes.” Long Island {NY] Press, July 26, 2005

In Brownsville {Texas], a coastal town of about 140,000 people that sits next to the Texas/Mexico border, fire investigators are looking for an arsonist who torched a gay bar that had been open for only two months. Houston Voice, July 29, 2005

A Birmingham minister who is working with a Christian political action group that supports a Roy Moore candidacy for Alabama governor said Thursday that he has no current ties to [the controversial] Council of Conservative Citizens, a Confederate heritage group often criticized as an alleged white supremacist organization. Mobile [Ala.] Register
Imperial Wizard Billy Jeffery of the North Georgia White Knights denied any connection to the bomb plot and said he banished Schertz from the group, but he readily admits he isn't happy with the flow of immigrants to the region.

"The blacks fought for their civil rights. These illegal immigrants are coming in here and having everything just handed to them," Jeffery said.

Hate crimes against Hispanic immigrants have been common in other parts of the country, but Southern states saw their Hispanic populations boom in the 1990s. Arkansas' Hispanic population rose by 337 percent during the decade, Georgia's by 300 percent, Tennessee's by 278 percent and South Carolina's by 211 percent. One of the first signs of organized anti-Hispanic activity in the South occurred in Gainesville, Ga., in 1998, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama group that tracks hate crimes.

The American Knights of the KKK held a rally on Hall County Courthouse steps, followed by a cross-burning in nearby Winder. A few years later, in 2001, the nation's largest neo-nazi organization, the National Alliance, staged a rally in Hall County.

Santos Aguilar of the Alianza Del Pueblo, an advocacy center for immigrants in Knoxville, said he believes the number of hate groups taking aim at immigrants continues to grow.

"The majority of the crimes are not reported to the law enforcement agencies," he said.

While a member of the North Georgia White Knights, Schertz was caught by an undercover federal agent and a confidential informant. Court records show he took them shopping for bomb materials at a home improvement store.

"Once at Lowe's, Schertz picked out five end caps and some silicone for the pipe bombs he was making," the agent's affidavit says. He then explained how to wire the explosives.

After returning to a shed at his home, Schertz gave instructions "down to the proper order of laying gun powder and shrapnel material." He made five pipe bombs and sold them for $750, records show.

Schertz is charged with teaching and demonstrating how to make a weapon of mass destruction and interstate transport of explosive material with intent to kill or injure. He is being held without bond.

Schertz's attorney, Mike Caputo, declined to comment on the charges, but said he was working on a plea agreement. He said Schertz is a military veteran and has no previous criminal record.

His Klan leader, Jeffery, said Schertz was thrown out of the Klan for unrelated disobedience in mid-May - weeks after the alleged bomb making and selling in April.

"We kicked him out for breaking his oath that he swore before God," Jeffery, 43, said in a telephone interview. "We are not a violence-making group, and we don't believe in that. This isn't the '50s and '60s."

Federal agents say hate groups always deny involvement when one of their members is charged with a crime.

"There are always a percentage of these people who are ready, willing and able to go off," said James M. Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Nashville field division.

Cavanaugh said that "when the group burns the cross, worships under the swastika, you dehumanize the people ... that has been a plague on the world for centuries." ... TBO/AP story, July 29, 2005, via Raw Story

Friday, July 29, 2005

A blast from the past

Every once in a while I get in one of those moods where I want to put on some old 1980s punk or industrial tunes. While listening to some old 23 Skidoo tracks I started thinking about a band a friend turned me on to back in the mid-1980s: Flux of Pink Indians. Their early material is basically ace 1980s punk with lyrics focused on anarchism, vegetarianism, animal rights, and such. Their last album, Uncarved Block, was a somewhat different beast. Sonically, there wasn't much "punk" about it - the album had much more of an "industrial" feel to it. And mid-1980s industrial music tended to be pretty heavy on the funk and tended to be highly percussive. The lyrics were also had a different feel to them: the title of the album suggests that these cats were digging on a Taoist vibe (I was just starting to dig on the Tao Te Ching around that point in my life), which means that the lyrics while more philosophical were still highly non-authoritarian. It's been ages since I'd listened to that album. Will have to see if I can dig it out (I taped it from my friend's lp - and god knows where that tape is).

The label that the bandmembers founded, One Little Indian, had quite a roster back in the day - most notable for me a group called ARKane and some combo that just went by the name D & V (short for Drum and Vocals - which was essentially the sound), and then ended up signing Bjork's old band the Sugarcubes (Bjork's still with the label) and ended up with enough commercial success to stay in business. Of course, I shouldn't forget the Shamen. The thing I always liked about that label was and is a willingness to sign artists who aren't afraid to take chances. In fact the label sums it up thusly:
As you can see, One Little Indian isn’t in the business of conforming, so following your instincts to support a band you love may not seem the most commercial route, but it’s definitely the most exciting!

The musical world can always use some excitement!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

So many empty words

Something found at k/o:
"a leader must uphold the honor and the dignity of the office to which he had been elected. (applause) In my administration, we will ask not only what is legal, but what is right. (applause) Not just what the lawyers allow, but what the public deserves. (applause) In my administration, we'll make it clear there is the controlling legal authority of conscience. (applause) We will make people proud again, so that Americans who love their country can once again respect their government.

-George W. Bush, Pittsburgh, October, 2000

So how's that honor and dignity thang goin' now, eh?

Holiday in Guantánamo

"It's time to face what you most fear
Right Guard will not help you here
What you need my dear...
What you need my dear...
Is a holiday in Guantánamo
It's tough, kid, but it's life
A holiday in Guantánamo
Where you can be some M.P.'s wife"
(with apologies to Dead Kennedys. We'll also replace "Pol Pot" with "George Bush" and I think we've summed it up.)
Picture nicked from Priscilla Grim's blog Red Statement, where she has this to say about US hypocrisy regarding Cuba and regarding human rights:
As we have previously discussed, American citizens are not allowed to go to Cuba as a tourist right now.


I find this amusing because even though the State Department writes:
"Cuba is a totalitarian police state, which relies on repressive methods to maintain control. "

It seems a good place to set up shop and at least think really hard about terrorism, cause a hunger strike, and more importantly continue to make enemies around the world.
I suppose when in Rome... at least Dick Cheney seems to think so.

It does seem the perfect place to violate the following US Constitutional rights:
Amendment V - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI - Right to speedy trial, confrontation of witnesses. Ratified 12/15/1791.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VIII - Cruel and Unusual punishment. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Well, you can always get that all-expense-paid vacation to Guantánamo. Just piss off Bu$hCo, and you can win an unlimited stay at luxury acomodations, complete with your very own torturer. A bargain at half the price!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

From The Mailbag

I learned from one of the listserves I frequent that ECM is going to be reissuing Julian Priester's 1974 classic Love, Love. Here's what ECM says about the upcoming August 15th reissue:
Numerous listeners, having worn out their vinyl albums, have petitioned ECM for a rerelease of “Love, Love” by trombonist Julian Priester. This recording from 1974 is a still powerful historic artefact from the dawn of the so-called Fusion Era. Having just left Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi Band, Priester rounded up some of the most explosive talents in electric jazz, including musicians from Weather Report, Return To Forever, and the bands of McCoy Tyner and Bobby Hutcherson, and let them loose on his powerful riff-based compositions which suggest some new amalgamation of Afro-Funk, Jazz-Rock and Minimal Music.

This is a significant development to jazz buffs like me, as rumors had floated around for quite some time that the original master tapes had deteriorated to the point of being non-recoverable. I'm quite thrilled that the rumors have turned out to be false. I've been a big fan of Hancock's Mwandishi Band sound, and Priester (with his group Pepo Mtoto) and Bennie Maupin both proved capable of exploring the outer reaches of that sound - in other words, the roots are definitely noticeable but Priester and Maupin made the sound their own. Which reminds me, I hope that ECM gets around to reissuing Maupin's release The Jewel in the Lotus (also released in 1974). Rumor also has it that ECM will be reviving its reissue program - thus bringing some 1970s gems back to the public eye. Needless to say, I'll be saving my pennies!

Say Hello To

Pissed on Politics and Kid Oakland.

Wake up and smell the coffee

Another roundup of links to go with the morning brew. All the news that's unfit to print. Just remember the corporate media's slogan: "What you don't know helps us to hurt you." [1]

Dying While Black is a roundup of the various wars, famines, genocides and such from around the world that are largely ignored by the corporate media.

Larry of Lotus - Surviving a Dark Time gives defending the Fourth Amendment a shot. I think he does a decent job of it too. It's nice to know that there are at least a few of us here in the US who are creeped out by the recent NYC policy that you can be denied access to public transit unless you're willing to give up your Constitutional rights. Now what was it that old Ben Franklin had to say about those who would exchange their liberty for the promise of security? Yup - they deserve neither. We've seen that played out time and again in history.

Eli of Left I shares this cool Lance Armstrong quote. Good to know that a well-respected athlete is willing to publicly state that there are better priorities for our tax dollars than the Iraq war.

Patrick Cockburn calls the Iraq War "unwinnable." To that, I say, "well DUH!" Now what? I'd say get our men and women the hell out of there and go after the war criminals who created the mess in the first place.

An interesting read from Bulldog Manifesto: The Security Fallacy and the War Profiteers Part of the draw of the article for me is this cool Chomsky quote: "There is one simple way for the United States to decrease very significantly the amount of terror in the world, and that is to just stop supporting and participating in it."

Oooooops! Looks like the U.S. Military in Iraq Is Caught Posing Propaganda As News.

And of course, Frist Kills Pentagon Bill to Protect Torture. It's always comforting to know that the GOP has its priorities intact.

Footnote [1] Name the source of the quote and you'll win a prize (probably some recognition on this here blog for your pop culture expertise, or maybe I'll just do it Drew Carey style and award you a million points). Hint: the quote is from an insert in a 1980s hardcore album. Name the band, the album, and the title of the insert, and the aforementioned prize is yours.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

As Wanda reminds us:

The Patriot Act: it's NOT permanent and it's not over, yet... Not by a longshot. I'd like to believe there is still some hope (maybe remote) that common sense may yet prevail in the Senate.

Around Iraq

This weekend Raed Jarrar dropped us the 411 that his brother was freed. Good news indeed. He also had this to say:
Now that he is free, we will direct our efforts towards tens of thousands of other innocent people locked up either in U.S. detention centers or in the jails of the U.S. supported regime.

Susan Hu summarizes life in Baghdad in her story, Baghdad: Worms in the Drinking Water. Electricity continues to be sporadic, which is very bad this time of year, when temperatures can easily reach the 110s Fahrenheit, and can soar to around 120 Fahrenheit. Add to that the fact that sewage contaminated water is now a fact of life for many of Baghdad's denizens, and one can readily understand the feelings of discontent. Hey, but as long as the US can build a few highly fortified bases to protect US oil interests then everything is hunky dory, eh?

While the White House stonewalls on the release of the remaining Abu Ghraib photos, there is more eyewitness testimony from former Abu Ghraib prisoners about their treatment.

In Shots to the Heart of Iraq, we learn about how innocent civilians are increasingly being targeted by US troops. Not exactly winning those hearts and minds, it appears.

Juan Cole has a roundup of the rest of the news you might have missed.

Look for the union label

Maryscott O'Connor had a wonderful story on organized labor yesterday that is well-worth visiting: UNIONS: What Americans Don't Know Is HURTING Them. Certainly this was a timely article given the turmoil in America's labor movement, and Ms. O'Connor does a nice job of laying out the importance of the labor movement, drawing on some of the work of author Studs Terkel and the prominent role that Eugene Debs played in America's organized labor movement. Maybe this is a good time for many of us - especially those who now populate the so-called middle class (from those who are relatively well-off to those who like me who are barely hanging on). Let's face it, folks like me owe a great deal to organized labor. I can guarantee that my grandparents would not have lived as well as they did without the prominent role that unions played during the middle part of the 20th century. Theirs were families that lived on the margins of agricultural existence, and who were able to find jobs in factories and oil fields that payed a genuine living wage and the promise of pensions for those inevitable retirement years. The upshot was that they were able to provide for their children opportunities which would not have been available otherwise - if you were a farmer or farmworker or manual laborer back before their time, even a high school diploma was a luxury that one could ill afford when the family needed everyone to generate income to make ends meet. People like me would not have been able to even dream of doing the things we're fortunate enough to do had it not been for the courage and hard work of leaders such as Debs and of course the many largely forgotten men and women who were willing to put their lives and bodies on the line for a better future.

Before dissing labor, ask yourselves this: is it acceptable to you for your children to have to work longer hours for less pay than you did? Is a future in which they work until they drop with little hope for anything better really what you would want for them? The elites of this country don't care - it's up to you to care for yourself and for your children's future. That means among other things laying aside the myth of rugged individualism, and disposing of the corpse of Horatio Alger once and for all. That means being willing to work with others as a collective to get the rewards of our labor that we so rightly deserve.

Organized labor at its best has a sort of egalitarian and populist vibe that I happen to dig. You do a job that contributes to the economy - you deserve respect. Maybe that's why the CEOs and their political cronies seem to hate and fear unions. The thought of actually accepting the steel workers, sanitation workers, and others as respectable citizens I'm sure is abhorrent to the Paris Hilton set. Nor is the thought that some of the offspring of such rabble may end up becoming college professors, writers, artists, people of influence likely to be any more palatable to the elite jet-setters. Think about that for a while. Then think about how the average CEO salary went up some 14% while the average salary barely kept up with inflation (3%; actually keep in mind that this is an underestimate of inflation rate, as it doesn't include such factors as energy costs), and some of us won't see a raise at all. The populist in me gets rather irritated by that state of affairs.

As an aside, if you haven't ever read Studs Turkel, you owe it to yourself to check his work out. His oral histories are excellent, and actually served to make history an interesting topic to me when I was a teen. In fact, it was about 25 years ago that my mom loaned me one of his books, American Dreams Lost and Found. I think it is only now that I'm realizing just how much of an influence the oral histories of working people contained in that volume had on me.


From Empire Notes:
The Iraq occupation is a mirror in which to look at this country, and so far nobody wants to take a serious look.

What does the occupation say about us as a people? What does all the "nuanced" talk from what passes as an opposition party tell us about our political system? Where is the outrage at the torture and genocide, all done based on a pack of lies? Have we lost our moral compass - although arguable it wasn't much of a compass to begin with?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Vengeance is mine, sayeth Bu$hCo

Maccabee caught this Frank Rich column that captures more of the essence of the current White House culture:

PRESIDENT BUSH'S new Supreme Court nominee was a historic first after all: the first to be announced on TV dead center in prime time, smack in the cross hairs of "I Want to Be a Hilton." It was also one of the hastiest court announcements in memory, abruptly sprung a week ahead of the White House's original timetable. The agenda of this rushed showmanship - to change the subject in Washington - could not have been more naked. But the president would have had to nominate Bill Clinton to change this subject.

When a conspiracy is unraveling, and it's every liar and his lawyer for themselves, the story takes on a momentum of its own. When the conspiracy is, at its heart, about the White House's twisting of the intelligence used to sell the American people a war - and its desperate efforts to cover up that flimflam once the W.M.D. cupboard proved bare and the war went south - the story will not end until the war really is in its "last throes."

Only 36 hours after the John Roberts unveiling, The Washington Post nudged him aside to second position on its front page. Leading the paper instead was a scoop concerning a State Department memo circulated the week before the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife, the C.I.A. officer Valerie Plame, in literally the loftiest reaches of the Bush administration - on Air Force One. The memo, The Post reported, marked the paragraph containing information about Ms. Plame with an S for secret. So much for the cover story that no one knew that her identity was covert.

But the scandal has metastasized so much at this point that the forgotten man Mr. Bush did not nominate to the Supreme Court is as much a window into the White House's panic and stonewalling as its haste to put forward the man he did. When the president decided not to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with a woman, why did he pick a white guy and not nominate the first Hispanic justice, his friend Alberto Gonzales? Mr. Bush was surely not scared off by Gonzales critics on the right (who find him soft on abortion) or left (who find him soft on the Geneva Conventions). It's Mr. Gonzales's proximity to this scandal that inspires real fear.

As White House counsel, he was the one first notified that the Justice Department, at the request of the C.I.A., had opened an investigation into the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife. That notification came at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2003, but it took Mr. Gonzales 12 more hours to inform the White House staff that it must "preserve all materials" relevant to the investigation. This 12-hour delay, he has said, was sanctioned by the Justice Department, but since the department was then run by John Ashcroft, a Bush loyalist who refused to recuse himself from the Plame case, inquiring Senate Democrats would examine this 12-hour delay as closely as an 18½-minute tape gap. "Every good prosecutor knows that any delay could give a culprit time to destroy the evidence," said Senator Charles Schumer, correctly, back when the missing 12 hours was first revealed almost two years ago. A new Gonzales confirmation process now would have quickly devolved into a neo-Watergate hearing. Mr. Gonzales was in the thick of the Plame investigation, all told, for 16 month

Thus is Mr. Gonzales's Supreme Court aspiration the first White House casualty of this affair. It won't be the last. When you look at the early timeline of this case, rather than the latest investigatory scraps, two damning story lines emerge and both have legs.


Most fertile - and apparently ground zero for Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation - is the period at the very outset when those plotting against Mr. Wilson felt safest of all: those eight days in July 2003 between the Wilson Op-Ed, which so infuriated the administration, and the retaliatory Novak column. It was during that long week, on a presidential trip to Africa, that Colin Powell was seen on Air Force One brandishing the classified State Department memo mentioning Valerie Plame, as first reported by The New York Times.

That memo may have been the genesis of an orchestrated assault on the Wilsons. That the administration was then cocky enough and enraged enough to go after its presumed enemies so systematically can be found in a similar, now forgotten attack that was hatched on July 15, the day after the publication of Mr. Novak's column portraying Mr. Wilson as a girlie man dependent on his wife for employment.

On that evening's broadcast of ABC's "World News Tonight," American soldiers in Falluja spoke angrily of how their tour of duty had been extended yet again, only a week after Donald Rumsfeld told them they were going home. Soon the Drudge Report announced that ABC's correspondent, Jeffrey Kofman, was gay. Matt Drudge told Lloyd Grove of The Washington Post at the time that "someone from the White House communications shop" had given him that information.

Mr. McClellan denied White House involvement with any Kofman revelation, a denial now worth as much as his denials of White House involvement with the trashing of the Wilsons. Identifying someone as gay isn't a crime in any event, but the "outing" of Mr. Kofman (who turned out to be openly gay) almost simultaneously with the outing of Ms. Plame points to a pervasive culture of revenge in the White House and offers a clue as to who might be driving it. As Joshua Green reported in detail in The Atlantic Monthly last year, a recurring feature of Mr. Rove's political campaigns throughout his career has been the questioning of an "opponent's sexual orientation."

THE second narrative to be unearthed in the scandal's early timeline is the motive for this reckless vindictiveness against anyone questioning the war. On May 1, 2003, Mr. Bush celebrated "Mission Accomplished." On May 29, Mr. Bush announced that "we found the weapons of mass destruction." On July 2, as attacks increased on American troops, Mr. Bush dared the insurgents to "bring 'em on." But the mission was not accomplished, the weapons were not found and the enemy kept bringing 'em on. It was against this backdrop of mounting desperation on July 6 that Mr. Wilson went public with his incriminating claim that the most potent argument for the war in the first place, the administration's repeated intimations of nuclear Armageddon, involved twisted intelligence.

Mr. Wilson's charge had such force that just three days after its publication, Mr. Bush radically revised his language about W.M.D.'s. Saddam no longer had W.M.D.'s; he had a W.M.D. "program." Right after that George Tenet suddenly decided to release a Friday-evening statement saying that the 16 errant words about African uranium "should never have been included" in the January 2003 State of the Union address - even though those 16 words could and should have been retracted months earlier. By the next State of the Union, in January 2004, Mr. Bush would retreat completely, talking not about finding W.M.D.'s or even W.M.D. programs, but about "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities."

In July 2005, there are still no W.M.D.'s, and we're still waiting to hear the full story of how, in the words of the Downing Street memo, the intelligence was fixed to foretell all those imminent mushroom clouds in the run-up to war in Iraq. The two official investigations into America's prewar intelligence have both found that our intelligence was wrong, but neither has answered the question of how the administration used that wrong intelligence in selling the war. That issue was pointedly kept out of the charter of the Silberman-Robb commission; the Senate Intelligence Committee promised to get to it after the election but conspicuously has not.

The real crime here remains the sending of American men and women to Iraq on fictitious grounds. Without it, there wouldn't have been a third-rate smear campaign against an obscure diplomat, a bungled cover-up and a scandal that - like the war itself - has no exit strategy that will not inflict pain.

It's quite a column, but one that I think is quite enlightening. Coercive action can take many forms for many reasons. One of those forms includes smearing or damaging another's career or reputation as a means of exacting revenge. One of the many motives for such actions includes saving face. Wilson's report and his op-ed were damaging to the image that the White House had portrayed regarding their reasons for going into the Iraq war. Ego threats - such as those caused by being caught in a lie or in Bu$hCo's case a pack of lies - may very well help to explain some of the petty vengeful actions that we have seen from this White House. Certainly that's not all that's involved. I keep thinking that Tedeschi and Felson's theory of coercive action and Greenberg, Solomon, and Pyszsynski's Terror Management Theory offer some insight. When one's sense of self or well-being is threatened, one way of acting is to eliminate or at least neutralize that threat. To the extent that the current White House crowd identifies themselves with the power that they hold and to the extent that they consider those who expose their lies as a threat to their well-being (including the very distinct possibility that at least a few of these thugs could end up doing some prison time), they will feel anxiety which can be relieved by eliminating the sources (present and future) of the threat.

Rich correctly notes that the real crime is going into this war in Iraq based on a pack of lies. Without that action, Treasongate would not even be an issue. As it stands now, the Bush Administration is handling Treasongate much as they have handled the Iraq war: like the veritable bull in a china shop. This bull is very angry and very fearful, and it's those two emotions that are a recipe for disaster. Stay tuned...

"Job gains lag; profits soar"

Yup...that's an actual headline. So, what's wrong with that picture?

Welcome Booman Trib readers

I've noticed a few hits from Booman Tribune today (I owe Susan Hu a debt of gratitude - mad props to you!). Feel free to take a look around and say hey!