New blog: Maine Owl

December 9th, 2007

I managed to keep away from blogging these past six months. But now Deep Blade Journal has a successor site, Maine Owl. The new blog will differ from Deep Blade Journal in that I intend to keep the content driven more from a local & personal viewpoint. Maine Owl will cover many of the same issues as Deep Blade Journal–Iraq and the Terror War, for example. But more often that coverage will be inspired by local events and media. I will be less likely to post there on national electoral politics or national-level politicians unless there is a local event or media appearance to discuss. And, I intend to amp up the photography there as time goes on.

Now, it is time for you, dear reader, to mosey on over to

http://maineowl.net/blog.

Friday nature blogging

June 22nd, 2007

Lovers and dreamers and me

Lovers and dreamers and me
What’s at the end?

With this post, Deep Blade Journal ceases publication. I’ve been mulling this decision for a long time now. I can’t keep this thing going by myself any more. People I have tried to engage in writing for this blog in order to help me build it just have not been inspired. In the last several weeks, I’ve had a ton of posts in mind. Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan–all of the places where events are streaming like they’re coming out of a flame thrower–could use a great deal of anti-imperial analysis that just isn’t happening within the empire’s media systems (including in many so-called liberal blogs). But there just doesn’t seem to be enough traffic here to warrant me continuing to try to provide that analysis.

I may post HERE at times. However, one of my greatest disappointments blogging is the public reaction to THIS (also posted HERE). That reaction was a big fat nothing. I asked the hundreds of people involved in the March actions to “think this through…, and arrive at some positions and then focus and maximize our organizing power.”

Guess what? Nobody came to my posts and indicated that they had thought it through much. Then not entirely unexpectedly, the Democrats folded before the highly unpopular Bush. War funding continues, and will continue apace. This empty thud really illustrated for me how much time I have been wasting trying to hammer things out in this medium. Realize that I am not blaming others here for not responding as I had envisioned. I’m just realizing that I am not using my own time most effectively if I really want to help organize the next steps needed to end this war.

This brings us to the Horse Race that will obsess bloggers for the next 18 months running up to election 2008. I’m not going to waste my time on that either. Obviously, various factions of the ruling class dearly want to acquire the US presidency after Bush. But we must realize that working for a Democrat means accepting ruling class prerogatives. I can’t make that compromise and live with myself any more.

We can elect all of the Democrats we want. They’ll tell us, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did on March 23, that they are acting to end the war. But that is an obvious charade. The politicians are in a full-gallop retreat away from public opinion, and the common discourse is about making sure the public does not understand what is really going on. The only real choices in the field all must incant the canonical texts of those ruling class prerogatives in order to receive funding. Hence, “all options” must be “on the table” with respect to relations with Iran, for example. Certainly valid arguments exist that a Democrat winning would be “better” than a Republican. But the fundamental nature of US empire and ruling-class domination will not change.

So what are the prospects for Iraq? First, general US public opinion will remain totally irrelevant to the warmakers. The US has acquired Iraq and it will stay there until an essential component of the imperial project, the US military for example, breaks down completely. That day may be many years away. Meanwhile, the recently-escalated program of bombing the Iraqis into submission will go on, and on, and on. Well into the next administration for sure. They’re gonna keep Iraq come hell or high water because it’s an ultra-strategic imperial asset. If Democrats and Republicans have to talk Terror War to keep the public scared enough to retreat into the happier places inside their televisions and their Wal Marts then that’s what they’ll do. It seems to have worked so far.

I will try to keep adding to peacecast.us, the podcasting site that accompanies this one. I have a ton of material collected over the last few months that I have intended to post there. But apart from a few very good friends who are very, very generous people, peacecast.us is not generating enough interest that would seem to justify its existence either. But a decision on that will wait for another day.

With that, this blog is over.

Media pro-torture campaign

June 1st, 2007

“Capture one of these killers, and he’ll be quick to demand the protections of the Geneva Convention and the Constitution of the United States. Yet when they wage attacks or take captives, their delicate sensibilities seem to fall away.” –Vice President Richard B. Cheney, May 26, 2007

Lately the notion that America is on the “moral high ground” no matter what it does to its “killer” enemies–who are always doing worse things–is making the rounds through wingnuttia. Glenn Greenwald dissects the phenomenon in a typically smashing post today. Here he studies how reactionary outlets like the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Professor Instapundit have picked up on the theme that weak-kneed liberal media is failing to properly position tales of “discovery” of al-Qaeda torture manuals.

GREENWALD: But now this “Al-Qaeda-does-it-too” song has become a little cause cèlèbre among our brave, pro-torture, right-wing warrior class. This “idea” — that something sinister is going on because the media reported America’s torture so extensively but is giving little coverage to Al Qaeda’s torture manuals — is now spreading rapidly among Bush followers….

Greenwald sarcastically questions the mentality of the “Epic, Existence-Threatening, Unprecedentedly-Dangerous” Islamophobic war where torture supporters are “resorting to the third-grader mentality that ‘Al Qaeda does it, too.’”

So far, the American public largely has been willing to accept “techniques such as hypothermia and waterboarding (for which some Gestapo defendants were convicted and sentenced to death at a 1948 war crimes trial).” It’s a truly disheartening situation. From Cheney on down, America has lost sight of what is supposed to make us different than the Gestapo, or al Qaeda for that matter. Instead, the wingnut justification that because they may not observe the Geneva Conventions, we don’t have to either seems to carry the day.

Hersh on Lebanon massacre

May 22nd, 2007

Seymour Hersh wrote about tacit US support through the Lebanon government for al-Qaida-connected Fatha el Islam in a stunning February New Yorker piece

CNN Hersh interview video on the “attempt by the Lebanese government to crack down on a militant Sunni group, Fatah al-Islam, that it formerly supported”

Hersh issued an update today on CNN International giving the context of recent events, reported by Raw Story (w/transcript) HERE.

Internet Explorer difficulties

May 18th, 2007

I just never use Internet Explorer so I didn’t notice that my CSS mods on the WordPress default theme do not render my header correctly in IE. Sorry. Please use Firefox, everything is perfect there. But I will look into fixing this….

You can't handle the truth

May 17th, 2007

How two-thirds million civilians can die in Iraq while hardly anyone in America notices

From a New York Times story on a military hearing concerning a Marine lawyer’s failure to report a now notorious slaughter of Iraqi civilians, the Haditha massacre:

On Friday Major McCann, an experienced Marine lawyer, interjected some unsettling questions about how many civilian deaths it would take to constitute a violation of military regulations.

Alluding to Haditha, he asked, “At what point do we have to scratch our heads that we killed a lot more civilians than enemy?”

Because so many witnesses had testified that civilian deaths from “combat action” need not be investigated, Major McCann said, “I’m trying to figure out what authority they are citing.”

The witness testifying then, Col. Keith R. Anderson, a senior Marine Reserve lawyer now with the Department of the Navy, delivered a succinct and telling answer. “There is no authority,” he said. “I think it’s just a mind-set.”

Of course, the Times frames this as a legitimate dilemma because the real bad guys are “a ruthless insurgency that uses civilians as cover and disregards the laws of conflict taught in the United States.”

It is just so hard for Americans with the big guns who are sent from half-way around the world to sort all this out using the moral goodness we’ve been taught in our deeply ethical rules of conflict.

Republican debate: codpiece contest

May 16th, 2007

God bless Ron Paul

Patriotic link to Republican debate story:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,272719,00.html

Even John McCain, the Arizona senator and frontrunner in South Carolina, said he was impressed by Giuliani’s performance at the debate. Giuliani won the strongest applause of Tuesday night’s first-in-the-South Republican primary debate at the University of South Carolina when he took exception to Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s suggestion that the United States’ interventionist policy invited the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“I thought Mayor Giuliani’s intercession there was appropriate and frankly very, very excellent. I really appreciated it because we should never believe that we brought on this conflict. This is an evil force that is trying to destroy everything we stand for,” McCain said.

One of the highlights of the debate came when Paul said the United States has been bombing Iraq for 10 years and doesn’t understand how the Middle East operates.

“Right now, we’re building an embassy in Iraq that is bigger than the Vatican. We’re building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting,” Paul said in explaining his opposition to going to war in Iraq.

“They are delighted that we’re over there because Usama bin Laden has said, ‘I’m glad you’re over on our sand because we can target you so much easier.’ They have already now since that time they’ve killed 3,400 of our men and I don’t think it was necessary,” he continued.

Lord almighty, they’re debating what happens on the TV series “24″ as if it’s real! Ominous Romney out-Rudies Giuliani here, calling for a “double Guantanamo”:

Nightmarish Vision

The candidates also were asked to respond to a hypothetical scenario — homicide bombings at three shopping centers near major U.S. cities. With hundreds dead and thousands injured, a fourth attack is averted when the attackers are captured off the Florida coast and taken to Guantanamo Bay to be questioned. U.S. intelligence believes another, larger attack is planned and could come at any time. How aggressively should the detainees be interrogated about the where the next attack might be?

First to answer was McCain, a former POW in Vietnam who opposes the use of torture.

“We could never gain as much we would gain from that torture as we lose in world opinion. We do not torture people,” he said. “It’s not about the terrorists, it’s about us. It’s about what kind of country we are. And a fact: The more physical pain you inflict on someone, the more they’re going to tell you what they think you want to know.”

“In the hypothetical that you gave me, which assumes that we know that there’s going to be another attack and these people know about it, I would tell the people who had to do the interrogation to use every method they could think of. Shouldn’t be torture, but every method they can think of,” Giuliani said, adding that that could include waterboarding. “I’ve seen what can happen when you make a mistake about this, and I don’t want to see another 3,000 people dead in New York or anyplace else.”

“You said the person is going to be in Guantanamo. I’m glad they’re at Guantanamo. I don’t want them on our soil. I want them in Guantanamo where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil. I don’t want them in our prisons. I want them there. Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is, we ought to double Guantanamo,” Romney said.

“Let me just say, this would take a one-minute conversation with the secretary of defense,” Hunter said. “I would call him up or call him in, I would say to SecDef, in terms of getting information that would save American lives even if it involves very high-pressure techniques, one sentence: ‘Get the information.’”

“First of all, let me say that I would go to the U.N., but it would be to state an opinion and to take advantage of our rights under international law, not to go ask for permission,” Gilmore added.

Heaven help America. I think Digby has it just about right:

John McCain is the only adult on that stage and that scares the living hell out of me considering that he’s half nuts too. Wow.

I think Rudy won it. These people don’t care if he’s wearing a teddy under his suit and sleeping with the family schnauzer as long as he promises to spill as much blood as possible.

Friday nature blogging

May 11th, 2007

Garden/nature feature re-launches today

Baltimore oriole

Patience pays off

Friday garden blogging will be called Friday nature blogging this year. The past week revealed some splendid summer-like weather. It is turning into the best May in three years, the last two being plagued by interminable stretches of rain.

It took over an hour to get the picture–gives me great appreciation for good wildlife photographers.

Indifferent to their fate

May 11th, 2007

Blair says, “I did what I thought was right”

If he thinks that now, two-thirds million killings and the creation of four million refugees in Iraq during the Bush/Blair war reveals that Mr. Blair’s moral failure is utterly contemptible and he has zero insight into the rot of his own condition.

Patrick Cockburn sums up Blair pretty well today:

For four years he has nailed British colours to a failed US policy over which Britain has no significant influence. He has advertised a humiliating British dependency on Washington without gaining any advantages.

As for Iraqis, despite all his rhetoric about rescuing them from Saddam, he has been surprisingly indifferent to their fate.

Test post

May 10th, 2007

The site was down for some period of time for unknown reasons. It’s back now.

Update: Still problems. All plugins deactivated…

Update: Not sure what this was all about, but everything seems to be back in working order now. I really didn’t do anything myself to fix it.