Bush Planning Fake Treaty For Permanent Occupation of Iraq

Jonathan Schwarz has an important piece up on the Bush Administration’s attempt to override the wishes of our own Legislative branch and the Iraqi Parliament and set up a permanent occupation (emphasis mine):

A majority of the Iraqi parliament wants the US to leave Iraq, and for several years has been trying to prevent the mandate from being renewed unless it includes a specific timeframe for us to depart.

The executive branch of the Iraqi government (ie, Prime Minister Maliki and friends) wants the US to stay indefinitely. That’s because we want to stay, and Maliki is our puppet. Maliki therefore successfully got the UN to renew the mandate at the end of 2007, even though the Iraqi parliament opposed it and, under the Iraqi constitution, must approve all treaties. Maliki is exactly like Bush in this way; the legislative branch tries to assert its constitutional rights, and Maliki tells them: fuck you.

[…]

Thus, Bush is attempting to create a bilateral “agreement” with Iraq via Maliki. It won’t be called a treaty, because as noted that would require the Iraqi parliament to approve it; even worse, under the US constitution, it would require the two-thirds approval of the US Senate.

So what the administration tried to do was quietly institute this accord between itself and Maliki (essentially between itself and itself), and write it so it was a treaty in all but name, giving the US the right to “protect” the Iraqi government from foreign and domestic threats.

President Bush wants to make us Iraq’s army.  He wants to make McCain’s 100 years a reality.

China Behind Tibet Violence?

If this is true, it is a bombshell(emphasis mine):

London, March 20 – Britain’s GCHQ, the government communications agency that electronically monitors half the world from space, has confirmed the claim by the Dalai Lama that agents of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the PLA, posing as monks, triggered the riots that have left hundreds of Tibetans dead or injured.

GCHQ analysts believe the decision was deliberately calculated by the Beijing leadership to provide an excuse to stamp out the simmering unrest in the region, which is already attracting unwelcome world attention in the run-up to the Olympic Games this summer.

Violence mars the message of the most worthwhile protests.  There have been accounts of undercover police officers inciting violence in protests here in the states, so this wouldn’t be without precedent.

There’s still time to sign the petition for dialogue.

Why Anti-Choicers Pretend Theocracy Does Not Exist

Blog Against Theocracy

The vast majority of the anti-choice movement is a fundamentally religious movement.  Backed by a religious conviction that abortion is murder, they are attempting to force their religion into our legal system.  So like Creationists hiding behind “Intelligent Design” and men who like to dress in lab coats, they hide behind secular arguments and sonograms to make believe their stance comes from reason rather than its polar opposite: faith.

A more novel strategy is to boldly pretend away the very existence of one’s opposition.  By way of example, smithadam’s post about the non-existence of atheism (literally, no joke, because the Bible says so):

Notice how I titled this thing “Why Atheism Does Not Exist,” and not “Why I Believe Atheism Does Not Exist.” I did this because it is not only what I believe, it is also because it is a fact.

The Bible does not acknowledge atheism in any form. The Bible says that all men know that there is a God.

4Simpsons linked to a really interesting post, wherein the author attempts to pull a stunt of a similar vein, but with a twist more applicable to the Minuteman Project claiming they are not at all racist.  The Evangelical Outpost as quoted by 4Simpsons (emphasis mine):

If you find these ideas absurd and repugnant, you are most likely a secularist. If you find them to be embarrassing truths, then you may be on the religious left. If you find them so obvious that they hardly need stating, then you are probably a member of the so-called “religious right.”

I embrace them whole-heartedly, which makes me a certified member of the religious right. Although I’ve often been uncomfortable with that term, I find it fits me more and more, as if I’m growing into it. So be it.

Whenever you hear someone say that the religious right is attempting to install a theocracy, simply say “You’re an idiot” and move on. We’ve wasted too much time on this nonsense already. It’s a desperate attempt to create a term that has the affect of “racist” or “sexist” so that when its applied, it automatically paints an opponent as beyond the pale of political discourse. Really, anyone who says that-no matter how much they may try to nuance the word-is an idiot.

The word “theocracy” already carries a very negative connotation, and with well-supported reason.  Full blown theocracies are never praised as exemplars of liberty or human rights.  Quite the opposite.  Its ironic that TEO claims those of us who oppose the religious right’s attempts to install a theocracy want to paint our opponents as “beyond the pale of political discourse”, while simultaneously advising when encountering us true believers ought to “simply say “You’re an idiot” and move on”.  One of the biggest problems with arguments based in faith instead of reason, is that by their nature they shut down political discourse by bringing the discussion into the realm of the unspeakable: criticism of religion.  A pro-choice politician may criticize the anti-reproductive rights stance of a born again Legislator, but to criticize the religion behind that stance risks severe criticism, whereas criticizing the logic behind a stance born of the same is perfectly acceptable.

I don’t know who this fellow thinks is trying to nuance the word theocracy in the slightest:

1. A government ruled by or subject to religious authority.
2. A state so governed.
Attempts to oppose gay rights, a woman’s right to choose, the teaching of evolution in schools, teaching sex education, are all examples of the religious right attempting to foist their religious authority onto all of us.  When the spin is removed and we see these actions as a whole, in their original frame, their decidedly negative cast shows through with a startling clarity.  That is why the religious right does not want to even acknowledge the word theocracy in political discourse.  It forces them to play a poker game where everyone knows their tell.

McCain’s Credibility With the Press

Via Majikthise, Kevin Drum body slams John McCain’s credibility:

Let’s recap. Foreign policy cred lets him get away with wild howlers on foreign policy. Fiscal integrity cred lets him get away with outlandishly irresponsible economic plans. Anti-lobbyist cred lets him get away with pandering to lobbyists. Campaign finance reform cred lets him get away with gaming the campaign finance system. Straight talking cred lets him get away with brutally slandering Mitt Romney in the closing days of the Republican primary. Maverick uprightness cred allows him to get away with begging for endorsements from extremist religious leaders like John Hagee. “Man of conviction” cred allows him to get away with transparent flip-flopping so egregious it would make any other politician a laughingstock. Anti-torture cred allows him to get away with supporting torture as long as only the CIA does it.

Any one of these issues would be a major headache for a Democratic candidate, or for any “non-blessed-by-the-media” Republican candidate.  We need to pop the karma-bubble around John McCain, or face watching a man wearing a full body media narrative stroll into the White House.

Florida, Michigan and the Primary Problem

Florida and Michigan tried to buck the system, which was unfair to the states that did not.  This was shitty, but I agree with riverdaughter, the idea that they need to apologize is ridiculous.  She quotes Matt Yglesias (emphasis mine):

Chris Bowers sketches out a plausible and appealing scenario in which Barack Obama wraps up the nomination on May 6. Among other things that would be good about such a scenario, it’s worth noting that at this point the main obstacle to a satisfactory resolution of the Florida/Michigan situation is that Clinton continues to be in the race. If she drops out and endorses Obama on May 7 or shortly thereafter, it’ll be easy for Michigan and Florida to be “forgiven” in late May and allowed to fully participate in a rubber stamp convention in exchange for promising to never do it again.

Our primary system leaves some states without a say in who becomes the party nominee.  It is disenfranchisement on a massive scale.  Also, certain states have an even heavier say in who the final field of candidates for the nomination will be.  This is a profoundly undemocratic process.  So while it was unfair to the states willing to sit in their cages and wait to be let out to vote, the real issue is how we go about picking a nominee.

What we have in place now is a sham.

When Will We Reach 5000?

We’ve lost 4,000 Americans.  Four thousand lives wasted.  When will we reach 5,000?  What are those thousand people doing right now?  Are some of them home on leave with their families, or on their third extended tour in Iraq?  Are they lying on their bunk trying to forget what happened to a friend and comrade, an unfortunate member of the 4,000 war dead?

And what happens when every single one of those next 1,000 people is killed in Iraq?  Will we be ready to stop the war then?

Shorter Elections + Instant Impeachment = Better Government

An interesting thought popped into my head, and I wanted to sketch it out here and see what folks think. It is a simple plan that can be expressed as an equation:

Shorter Elections + Instant Impeachment = Better Government

polotek99 wrote a bit about why he hates politics. He goes on to discuss the problems with holding job interviews for the office of the Presidency. The thing is, in any business this is a huge problem. You don’t want to hire someone who turns out to be completely ignorant and unskilled in their area of supposed expertise. Sometimes you just have to fire someone (ideally quickly once determining they essentially lied during their interview). Why can’t we do the same thing with our Presidential elections?

The first obstacle is how long election cycles are. If we did away with state-by-state primaries based on delegates and replaced it with a month-long national popular vote primary, followed by a month long national popular vote driven general election, I think we’d be in business. Then if we could have some threshold for impeaching members of the Legislative and executive branch (say a certain percentage of the populace in every state for the executive, or within each state for their state and federal officials and representatives), we could allow for trial periods for new politicians.

The biggest bottleneck is the speed with which voting occurs, and this is a direct function of our ability to trust our votes. Right now, we don’t. Shift to a new, faster system and that cynicism will explode. We need a way to establish fast and verifiable voting systems.

From there we could build on even more innovations. We can hire consultants with contracts stipulating deliverables. Why not politicians? Why can’t we elect say, a Senator, and put in writing that they must pass a certain law or show demonstrable progress towards same? Or even just clauses that compel the elected official to refrain from undesirable activities like supporting the war, breaking party ranks too often, or any other criteria citizens for a particular state wish to impose?

We often lose site of this, be we, citizens, we are the boss. Our elected officials have been taking our pay and only working on what they want to work on. Its time to change that. This might be a start.