Professor Smartass

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cindy McCain: tear up pre-nup to show us how to trust John


Cindy McCain had John McCain sign a prenuptial agreement when they got married, presumably because she's worth hundreds of millions, and as an admiral's son at the time, he would have been upper middle class at best.

Nothing says how little trust you have in someone like a prenup, and it also shows who is very much the junior partner in the relationship.

If Cindy McCain really wanted to help her husband's presidential campaign, she should be asked to make a big public display of tearing up that prenuptial to show that if she's willing to trust Grandpa Asshole with her hundreds of millions, we should trust him with our trillion dollar budget.

If she doesn't, why should we trust him with not just our money, but our country and security?


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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 1:43 PM | link | (0) comments |

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bush says NO WMD in Russia was reason for weak Georgia response

At a press conference yesterday, President George W. Bush said he did not send troops to back Georgia in their brief war with Russia because Russia had no WMD.

"Look, I'm concerned when nations cross the borders of other nations and bomb and kill innocent people, but the fact is, Russia has no weapons that can reach the United States and no WMD. They just aren't a threat to us."

When pressed further, Bush said he had his staff review the public statements of his vice president Dick Cheney, his secretary of defense, Condi Rice, and former secretary of defense Don Rumsfeld over the last seven years and found that only two or three countries in the world may have nuclear weapons and other "WMD."

"Look, we know for sure Saddam Hussein was seconds from getting a nukes which he could have used to blackmail the world, and now Iran is trying to do the same, but no one else has that kinda technology. Not even us."

Asked about North Korea he said, "They might have them, but it's not they got missiles that could fly over Japan or anything. Hell, I don't even think they got the Wii yet."

Reporters asked about the Cold War arms race, Russia's history of nuclear tests, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. After consulting his teleprompter and 3x5 cards for several seconds, touching his ear and saying, "Karen? Karl? You guys fall asleep in there?" He finally replied, "Look the Cold War was decades ago. That's ancient history. We can't let history effect how we act in the present. And we don't know that that conflict had anything to do with Weapons of Mass Destruction."

Later, a senior official at the State Department speaking off the record in her shiny new Ferragamo shoes clarified the president's statement.

"I would like to respond to the unfair and frankly conspiracy theory inspired questions posed to th president about Russia nuclear weapons. First, the Cold War was primarily about ideology, defeating godless communism not any particular 'weapons system.'"

She said the photos of Soviet missiles that were frequently published in newspapers and still survive in textbooks were actually part of a robust space programs that launched thousands of weather and communications satellites. Some had to be stored in hardened bunkers and submarines because of Russia's harsh climate.

US satellite photos of alleged Soviet nuclear missile tests, seemingly confirmed by seismographic and radiation data were actually a wave of large meteors striking the Soviet Union, according to her. "As the world's largest land mass, it is only reasonable & logical that we would see more meteors hit that country than any other."

She said that the Cuban Missile Crisis was about Castro's attempt to develop nuclear weapons, which the United States should have invaded to prevent; however, once Soviet cargo ships and military vessels arrived, it was clear to President Kennedy that it was all a misunderstanding.

"We need to focus on real threats, not hypothetical ones," the source concluded. "If we expended our military resources chasing imaginary nuclear stockpiles we would break our military, bankrupt our country, and alienate all of our historical allies in fairly order."


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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 11:59 AM | link | (0) comments |

Friday, August 15, 2008

Georgia & Russia all about OIL

The US is trying to cut Russia out of the profits and control of Caspian Sea oil. There is no other story in Georgian-Russia conflict, there are only details about innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire.

The way our network news covers it is a little like talking about the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima without mentioning the atom bomb. But they are only following the lead of our elected officials.

It is to the undying shame of American democracy that this is not part of what our elected leaders tell us about the decisions they are making.

KEY EXCERPTS:




Russia and Georgia: All About Oil

Michael Klare | August 13, 2008


This struggle commenced during the Clinton administration when the former Soviet republics of the Caspian Sea basin became independent and began seeking Western customers for their oil and natural gas resources. Western oil companies eagerly sought production deals with the governments of the new republics, but faced a critical obstacle in exporting the resulting output. Because the Caspian itself is landlocked, any energy exiting the region has to travel by pipeline – and, at that time, Russia controlled all of the available pipeline capacity. To avoid exclusive reliance on Russian conduits, President Clinton sponsored the construction of an alternative pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan to Tbilisi in Georgia and then onward to Ceyhan on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast -- the BTC pipeline, as it is known today.

The BTC pipeline, which began operation in 2006, passes some of the most unsettled areas of the world, including Chechnya and Georgia’s two breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. With this in mind, the Clinton and Bush administrations provided Georgia with hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid, making it the leading recipient of U.S. arms and equipment in the former Soviet space. President Bush has also lobbied U.S. allies in Europe to “fast track” Georgia’s application for membership in NATO.

All of this, needless to say, was viewed in Moscow with immense resentment. Not only was the United States helping to create a new security risk on its southern borders, but, more importantly, was frustrating its drive to secure control over the transportation of Caspian energy to Europe. Ever since Vladimir Putin assumed the presidency in 2000, Moscow has sought to use its pivotal role in the supply of oil and natural gas to Western Europe and the former Soviet republics as a source both of financial wealth and political advantage. It mainly relies on Russia’s own energy resources for this purpose, but also seeks to dominate the delivery of oil and gas from the Caspian states to the West.

FULL TEXT


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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 5:24 PM | link | (0) comments |

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We treated Post-Soviet Russia like Post-WW I Germany: why expect different outcome?

After World War I, the Allies imposed brutal terms on the defeated Germans, imposing not only reparations for war costs, but maintaining a starvation blockade AFTER surrender, and stripping Germany of territory.

After the Fall of the Soviet Union, we had a chance to steer Russia toward a stable, European-style social democracy.

Instead, the Wall Street types insisted that any economic aid come at the price of radical free market reforms that actually lowered the standard of living and even life expectancy compared to Soviet days.

Likewise, the breaking away of former Soviet Republics may have been inevitable, but their quick integration into NATO and America siding strongly with political candidates in those countries based on how quickly they would open up to foreign investments. shed their social safety net, and allow us to use their soil as a base for military operations was a continual slap in the face of the critically injured but not dead Russia.

There are, however, a couple of critical differences between Germany after WWI and Russia after Communism.

Germany was a great industrial power, which could make her a powerful military adversary but she was poor in the natural resource to power expansionist ambitions: oil. Hitler didn't seize enough oil-rich territory in time to fight the allies indefinitely and ran out of gas.

By contrast, Russia sits on the Caspian Sea Basin, where some of those oil reserves Hitler needed were, and American oil companies are trying to quietly pick them out of Russia's pocket, one former republic and pipeline at a time. One of those is in Georgia.

We have not only beaten Russia, we have taken their watch and are now trying to pry loose their fillings. How would you expect them to respond?

Russia also correctly sees us as trying to control all of the major oil producing countries in the Persian Gulf, adding occupied Iraq to our "ally" Saudi Arabia, and now Bush & Cheney are eying Iran's reserves as well. Would we allow Russia to gain control of so much of the world's oil and on top of that, cozying up to Mexico to suck oil from under our border?

Another way Russia is unlike Germany is Russia has about as many nuclear warheads as we do, and unlike the phantom menace from Iraq, Russia has the means to deliver them and a possible motive. This makes the Wall Street post-communist plan to belittle and plunder Russia suicidal. If you beat someone to pulp and keep pounding, if the only weapon he has to fight back is a hand grenade, he just might pull the pin even if it means killing himself as well as you.

Our Wall Street first foreign policy has led us into a costly war in Iraq, and if we attack Iran or make a misstep on Georgia, it could lead to World War that could cost billions of lives. And whichever corporations profit from the war, none of them will share the loot with average Americans anymore than they are sharing their massive profits from running up the price of oil with wars and threats of war.

The great flaw of the Wall Street first foreign policy is it expects people to respond like sheepish employees given the pink slip and escorted out of the office. But when you are being forcibly removed from your means of survival, as is the case in Iraq, and we are now seeing in Russia, people do not go quietly, and more innocent bystanders than guilty parties end up dead.

Peace with dignity and security for all parties involved may mean less short term profits for Wall Street speculators, but as we saw with the Marshall Plan after World War II, a well-fed and well-treated former adversary doesn't take up arms against you again, and both sides can prosper.

We must choose between modest profits for most, stability and life for all, or quick profits for a few, and war and death for everyone else.


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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 11:48 AM | link | (0) comments |

Saturday, August 02, 2008

FORGOTTEN HISTORY: Bush admits no Saddam 9/11 link in 2004 debate

With another presidential election at hand, and terror alerts and odd events about to descend upon us again, it's worth remembering that President George W. Bush admitted during a 2004 presidential debate that the country we invaded and now occupy to the tune of up to trillions of tax dollars spent, over a million Iraqis killed, and thousands of American troops killed and tens of thousands maimed for life, had nothing to do with 9/11.

Nothing.

Bush admitted Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 at least three times.

  1. Once in response to polls showing his propaganda had convinced 70% of the public that Iraq was involved in 9/11,

  2. in 2006 when a reporter accidentally asked an important question,

  3. and in 2004 during a debate with Senator John Kerry (see below).

Kerry was not the perfect candidate, but at least in this exchange, he had the better handle on reality; or more precisely, he acknowledged reality whereas Bush lied about and tried to change the subject.

KEY EXCERPTS:

BUSH: I would hope I never have to. I understand how hard it is to commit troops. Never wanted to commit troops. When I was running -- when we had the debate in 2000, never dreamt I'd be doing that.

But the enemy attacked us, Jim, and I have a solemn duty to protect the American people, to do everything I can to protect us....

KERRY: Jim, the president just said something extraordinarily revealing and frankly very important in this debate. In answer to your question about Iraq and sending people into Iraq, he just said, "The enemy attacked us."

Saddam Hussein didn't attack us. Osama bin Laden attacked us. Al Qaida attacked us. And when we had Osama bin Laden cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora, 1,000 of his cohorts with him in those mountains. With the American military forces nearby and in the field, we didn't use the best trained troops in the world to go kill the world's number one criminal and terrorist...

He also said Saddam Hussein would have been stronger. That is just factually incorrect. Two-thirds of the country was a no-fly zone when we started this war. We would have had sanctions. We would have had the U.N. inspectors. Saddam Hussein would have been continually weakening...

LEHRER: Thirty seconds.

BUSH: First of all, of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us. I know that.

FULL TEXT

Republicans have successfully sold themselves as the better party on national security, but when they lie to us on an issue as crucial as this, can we trust them with the safety of our country and families?


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