Monday, December 20, 2004
"Bush, tapped in 2000 by Time, joins six other presidents who have twice been named the magazine's Person of the Year: Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower (first as a general), Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Franklin Roosevelt holds the record with three nods from the editors.
Bush was recognized for "reshaping the rules of politics to fit his 10-gallon-hat leadership style" and "for sharpening the debate until the choices bled, for reframing reality to match his design, for gambling his fortunes -- and ours -- on his faith in the power of leadership."
... How's that working for ya?
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Bush: Surplus Justifies Tax Cut
WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2001
(AP) President Bush said Saturday that the most important number in the budget he sends to Congress next week is the $5.6 trillion surplus it projects over the next 10 years.
That huge projected surplus provides the underpinning of all the administration's tax-cut and spending plans, Mr. Bush said in his recorded weekly radio address.
"A surplus in tax revenue, after all, means that taxpayers have been overcharged," the president said. "And usually when you've been overcharged, you expect to get something back." The surplus figure "counts more than any other" in the budget, he said.
... How's that working for ya?
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
"VIENNA (Reuters) - Poisoning remains one of the possibilities behind Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko's illness during election campaigning, Medical experts investigating his ailments said on Wednesday.
Yushchenko fell ill in September while on the presidential campaign trail and was flown to Austria for treatment. He later accused the authorities of trying to kill him with poison.
The Times newspaper in Britain on Wednesday quoted West-leaning Yushchenko's personal physician in Vienna, Mykola Korpan, as saying that the opposition leader had been poisoned in an attempt on his life."
It can't happen here ... no, wait. Yes it can. I forgot, it's Anything Goes now. Nevermind.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
"The officials described the two assessments as having been 'mixed,' saying that they did describe Iraq as having made important progress, particularly in terms of its political process, and credited Iraqis with being resilient. But over all, the officials described the station chief's cable in particular as an unvarnished assessment of the difficulties ahead in Iraq. They said it warned that the security situation was likely to get worse, including more violence and sectarian clashes, unless there were marked improvements soon on the part of the Iraqi government, in terms of its ability to assert authority and to build the economy."
With Washington's partisan war raging on over a bitterly politicized CIA, a steady flood of intelligence leaks, and the castrated political orphan that the congressional intelligence reform bill has become, administration supporters will no doubt argue that the CIA cable made public Tuesday is just the latest salvo fired by disgruntled spooks who want to put holes in the president and his new DCI and clean-up man, Porter Goss. The truth of the matter, they will say, is that things in Iraq are looking up.
They will, of course, also dismiss or skip over ominous reports from the "liberal" media showing that they couldn't be more wrong. Say, for example, Edward Wong's New York Times report from Baghdad on Sunday, "Mayhem in Iraq Is Starting to Look Like a Civil War":
"In recent weeks, at least one new Shiite militia has formed -- not in opposition to the Americans, but to exact revenge against the Sunnis.
"Assaults by Iraqis on other Iraqis have taken grisly and audacious turns lately. In October, insurgents dressed as policemen waylaid three minibuses carrying 49 freshly trained Iraqi Army soldiers -- most or all of them Shiites traveling south on leave -- and executed them. Pilgrims going south to the Shiite holy cities of Najaf and Karbala have also been gunned down. In response, Shiite leaders in the southern city of Basra began telling young men last month that it was time for revenge. They organized hundreds of Shiites into the Anger Brigades, the latest of many armed groups that have announced their formation in the anarchy of the new Iraq. The stated goal of the brigades is to kill extremist Sunni Arabs in the north Babil area, widely known as the 'Triangle of Death,' where many Shiite security officers and pilgrims have been killed.
"'The Wahhabis and Salafis have come together to harm fellow Muslims and have begun killing anyone affiliated with the Shiite sect,' Dhia al-Mahdi, the leader of the Anger Brigades, said in a written statement. 'The Anger Brigades will be dispatched to those areas where these germs are, and there will be battles.'"
The Bush White House itself has consistently shot down critics of its Iraq policy as pessimists who are out of touch. Few would realistically expect a wartime administration -- especially this one -- to be publicly self-critical, let alone admit the need for a dramatic change of course. But it is growing more and more obvious that the U.S.'s hopes for Iraq may have to be drastically scaled back. At what point will the Bush administration be forced to accept reality?
Monday, December 06, 2004
"It is generally accepted these days that the continued debasement of the U.S. dollar is a positive. It is also generally accepted to expect that as the buck declines, the U.S. trade deficit will correct itself, like a self-cleaning oven, we have been led to suppose. But upon pondering this 2004 rule of thumb, a question came to mind. Perhaps you can answer it. Here goes:
"At what dollar/yuan (or dollar/won or dollar/anything) level will overseas manufacturers lose the cost-competitive edge to where, say, a Wal-Mart Stores (WMT, news, msgs) (or any other U.S. entity that's contributing to our gaping trade imbalance) will eschew Asia and opt for domestically produced goods? Simply put, how low do we have to push the buck before a 42" TV is cheaper from Sheboygan than from Shenzhen?
"Right off the bat, I'd have to surmise that we won't ever experience that phenomenon, because long before it came anywhere even close to that, the inflation would have eaten us all alive. . . . You still wanna argue about the benefits of a weaker dollar because this will lower our imports and raise our exports with a view to meaningfully closing the trade gap? This of course would encompass the glitch of how to market a U.S.-made $2,200 Maytag Neptune washer/dryer combo to that guy in Nanjing who is pullin' down a cool 76 cents per hour. . . .
"But before we wrap up this diatribe, how about this eye-opener: There is apparently a leading manufacturer of large kitchen appliances I read about somewhere (which was not named, though I continue to dig) that has stopped using conveyor belts in its Chinese factories. Is that right? Yep. So what have they determined is a cheaper option? They hired Chinese laborers to manually lug the stuff around."
Meet Mr. Bond Market
We don't export enough to solve our trade deficit. What we need to do is stop consuming beyond our means and start saving, which is what will be forced upon us eventually. We're slowly moving toward the point in the process where the rate-making decisions will be taken away from Easy Al and the boys, and given to Mr. Bond Market himself.
Haven't heard of Mr. Bond Market? An interesting fellow. Fluent in Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, etc. He will soon be calling the tune in the mortgage market, and -- oh, by the way -- he will therefore have more than a little to say about the price of houses going forward.
Dollar's plunge is a blight, not a benefit
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
With the passage of the debt ceiling increase, the government's borrowing limit has climbed by $2.23 trillion since President Bush took office: by $450 billion in 2002, by a record $984 billion in 2003 and by $800 billion this year. Just the increase in the debt ceiling over the past three years is nearly 2 1/2 times the entire federal debt accumulated between 1776 and 1980.
But analysts noted that the (U.S. trade) deficit has remained at record levels for much of this year, exceeding $50 billion in each of the past four months. It is on track to approach $600 billion for the full year, easily topping the previous record of $496 billion reached in 2003. The trend isn't expected to reverse soon.
[chi] Politics - World (context)
WRONG! Guess again.
If your war hero can't beat the most inarticulate boob to occupy the Oval Office in living memory with the worst combined foreign & domestic record in living memory then you can't beat anyone.
Read the writing on the wall ...
** GAME OVER **
How many brave American boys will be killed
because of treasonous anti-war protesters undermining our resolve and providing aid & comfort to our enemies?
... There, I've said it -- now it won't be such a shock when the bastards try to pin the whole debacle on you.
Now that the shoe is firmly on the other foot,
GOP Rule 1: kick the hell outta the suckers while they're down...
" In scuttling major intelligence legislation that he, the president and most lawmakers supported, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert last week enunciated a policy in which Congress will pass bills only if most House Republicans back them, regardless of how many Democrats favor them.
In contrast to the present day Republicans:
... in 1993, when most House Democrats opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement. President Bill Clinton backed NAFTA, and leaders of the Democratic-controlled House allowed it to come to a vote. The trade pact passed because of heavy GOP support, with 102 Democrats voting for it and 156 voting against. Newt Gingrich of Georgia, the House GOP leader at the time, declared: "This is a vote for history, larger than politics . . . larger than personal ego."
... well, that was then, this is now.
Saturday, November 27, 2004
And now what do we get? We're the fucking Arrogant Northeast Liberal Elite? How about this for arrogant: the South is the Real America? The Authentic America. Really?
Cause we fucking founded this country, assholes. Those Founding Fathers you keep going on and on about? All that bullshit about what you think they meant by the Second Amendment giving you the right to keep your assault weapons in the glove compartment because you didn't bother to read the first half of the fucking sentence? Who do you think those wig-wearing lacy-shirt sporting revolutionaries were? They were fucking blue-staters, dickhead. Boston? Philadelphia? New York? Hello? Think there might be a reason all the fucking monuments are up here in our backyard?
No, No. Get the fuck out. We're not letting you visit the Liberty Bell and fucking Plymouth Rock anymore until you get over your real American selves and start respecting those other nine amendments. Who do you think those fucking stripes on the flag are for? Nine are for fucking blue states. And it would be 10 if those Vermonters had gotten their fucking Subarus together and broken off from New York a little earlier. Get it? We started this shit, so don't get all uppity about how real you are you Johnny-come-lately "Oooooh I've been a state for almost a hundred years" dickheads. Fuck off.
Arrogant? You wanna talk about us Northeasterners being fucking arrogant? What's more American than arrogance? Hmmm? Maybe horsies? I don't think so. Arrogance is the fucking cornerstone of what it means to be American. And I wouldn't be so fucking arrogant if I wasn't paying for your fucking bridges, bitch.
All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your fucking Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time Florida gets hit by a hurricane you can come crying to us if you want to, but you're the ones who built on a fucking swamp. "Let the Spanish keep it, its a shithole," we said, but you had to have your fucking orange juice.
The next dickwad who says, "Its your money, not the government's money" is gonna get their ass kicked. Nine of the ten states that get the most federal fucking dollars and pay the least... can you guess? Go on, guess. Thats right, motherfucker, they're red states. And eight of the ten states that receive the least and pay the most? Its too easy, asshole, theyre blue states. Its not your money, assholes, its fucking our money. What was that Real American Value you were spouting a minute ago? Self reliance? Try this for self reliance: buy your own fucking stop signs, assholes.
Lets talk about those values for a fucking minute. You and your Southern values can bite my ass because the blue states got the values over you fucking Real Americans every day of the goddamn week. Which state do you think has the lowest divorce rate you marriage-hyping dickwads? Well? Can you guess? Its fucking Massachusetts, the fucking center of the gay marriage universe. Yes, thats right, the state you love to tie around the neck of anyone to the left of Strom Thurmond has the lowest divorce rate in the fucking nation. Think thats just some aberration? How about this: 9 of the 10 lowest divorce rates are fucking blue states, asshole, and most are in the Northeast, where our values suck so bad. And where are the highest divorce rates? Care to fucking guess? 10 of the top 10 are fucking red-ass we're-so-fucking-moral states. And while Nevada is the worst, the Bible Belt is doing its fucking part.
But two guys making out is going to fucking ruin marriage for you? Yeah? Seems like you're ruining it pretty well on your own, you little bastards. Oh, but that's ok because you go to church, right? I mean you do, right? Cause we fucking get to hear about it every goddamn year at election time. Yes, we're fascinated by how you get up every Sunday morning and sing, and then you're fucking towers of moral superiority. Yeah, that's a workable formula. Maybe us fucking Northerners don't talk about religion as much as you because we're not so busy sinning, hmmm? Ever think of that, you self-righteous assholes? No, you're too busy erecting giant stone tablets of the Ten Commandments in buildings paid for by the fucking Northeast Liberal Elite. And who has the highest murder rates in the nation? It ain't us up here in the North, assholes.
Well this gravy train is fucking over. Take your liberal-bashing, federal-tax-leaching, confederate-flag-waving, holier-than-thou, hypocritical bullshit and shove it up your ass.
And no, you can't have your fucking convention in New York next time. Fuck off.
... How's that working for ya?
Not To Cover Vote Fraud
By Peter Coyote
There is a bumper sticker I saw months ago that sums up the current state of affairs in our country regarding what is the biggest news story you'll never see on the General Media reported. It said "IF YOU'RE NOT OUTRAGED, YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION".
On Friday I received a phone call from a good friend who works at CBS--I've known her for years and she is a Producer for some of the news programs, one well known one in particular. She tipped me off that the news media is in a "lock-down" and that there is to be no TV coverage of the real problems with voting on Nov. 2nd. She said similar "lock-down orders" had come down last year after the invasion of Iraq, but this is far worse--far scarier. She said the majority of their journalists at CBS and elsewhere in NYC are pretty horrified--every one is worried about their jobs and retribution Dan Rather style or worse. My source said they've also been forbidden to talk about it even on their own time but she was pissed and her journalistic and moral integrity as what she considers to be a gov't watchdog requires her to speak out, while be it covert and she therefore asked me to "spread" the word... She said that journalism and the truth is at stake. She said another friend of hers, a producer at MSNBC, said that an anchor by the name of Keith Olbermann had brought it up on his show on Friday eve and the axe came down. He's at least fighting back and talking about it on his "Blog", but she said that people there are worried that he's going to be fired by higher ups. She said at this point the only way that the "real news" was going to be if the people started talking about it and made a big enough stink about it to our elected officials, the FEC, and "noise" to the international media, that our own media won't have any choice but to cover it. (Yes, this is really happening in the good ole' supposed "democratic" free press of the US of A). The only place you'll see this talked about right now is on the internet and on AirAmericaRadio.
Everyone--this is serious....I can't emphasize it any more than saying if there was ever a time to speak up and take action it is NOW. If you are feeling sick to your stomach (like me) about the possibility of 4 more years under Bush and the future of our country, and yet you feel helpless, here's your opportunity to take action. Imagine if you saw a loved one drowning--what do you do? Well, our country's democracy is drowning and she needs us. In an email I sent you last night, I used the F-word--FRAUD and mentioned to you that I felt strongly that there is a lot of mounting evidence that this election was not clean. I say that not only out of a result of my observations while out in the field as a poll watcher in the key battleground state of Ohio, I say it with the knowledge and information of reports that have been circulating around the country in various voting precincts involving irregularities and problems with the voting machines and numbers not matching up with the exit polls or actual numbers of registered voters in various precincts. I've been busy researching this issue and compiling for you below some details of these reports and where you can get more info:
To believe that Bush won the election, you must also believe:
1- That the exit polls were WRONG...(remember--they have been used for over a decade and considered reliable)
2- That Zogby's 5pm election day calls for Kerry winning OH, FL were WRONG. He was within a less than 1/2 % point margin of error in his 2000 final poll and previous polls for other elections.
3- That Harris Poll last minute polling for Kerry was WRONG. They were also within a 1/2% point margin of error in their 2000 final poll.
4- The Incumbent Rule
I (that undecideds primarily break at the end for the challenger)was WRONG.
5- The 50% Rule was WRONG (that an incumbent doesn't do better than his final polling)
6- The Approval Rating Rule was WRONG (that an incumbent with less than 50% approval will most likely lose the election)
7- That Journalist Greg Palast was WRONG when he said that even before the election, 1 million votes were stolen from Kerry. He was the ONLY reporter to break the fact that 90,000 Florida blacks were disnfranchised in 2000.
8- That it was just a COINCIDENCE that the exit polls were CORRECT where there WAS a PAPER TRAIL and INCORRECT (+5% for Bush) where there was NO PAPER TRAIL.
9- That the surge in new young voters had NO positive effect for Kerry, even though it was the largest number of youth voters 18-29 ever and a huge jump from 2000 and they were over 55% in favor of Kerry. >> 10- That Bush BEAT 99 to 1 mathematical odds in winning the election.
11- That Kerry did WORSE than Gore against an opponent who LOST the support of SCORES of Republican newspapers who were for Bush in 2000.
12- That Bush did better than an 18 national poll average which showed him tied with Kerry at 47. In other words, Bush got 80% of the undecided vote to end up with a 51-48 majority--when ALL professional pollsters agree that the undecided vote ALWAYS goes to the challenger.
13- That Voting machines made by Republicans with no paper trail and with no software publication, which have been proven by thousands of computer scientists to be vulnerable in scores of ways, were NOT tampered with in this election.
Some Examples: (There are many more, but I won't list them all here--this is to give you an idea)
- The City of Gahanna in Ohio discovered a discrepancy that gave 4,000 votes to George Bush. After media scrutiny, city officials have admitted to an electronic "glitch" that caused the problem.
- In Broward County, FL, errors in software code caused a referendum on gambling to be completely overturned. The error caused totals to count backwards after reaching a ceiling of 32,500 votes. The problem existed in the 2002 election as well however the issue was never resolved by the manufacturer of the electronic voting machine.
- In North Carolina, a Craven County district logged 11,283 more votes than voters and actually overturned the results of a regional race.
For more info, go to: <>http://www.blackboxvoting.org/
Friday, November 26, 2004
Monday, November 22, 2004
"as part of the corporate abdication of responsibility that's gone hand-in-hand with the mania (and a similar abdication of responsibility on the part of the Fed), I think many of these pension plans will not be able to withstand a 30%-to-40% drop in the stock market, which I still expect to see at some point.
Fatuous assumptions fatten earnings
Of course, most chieftains in corporate America don't want to employ a safer, sounder asset mix that would be less vulnerable to stock-market problems because it would be more expensive. With the present low level of interest rates, the actuarial assumptions they'd likely have to use would require them to make higher contributions. What the heck do they care about whether the pension plan will be solvent down the road? They just want to contribute the least amount of money to their plans so that their earnings look as good as possible.
Retirement won't be a problem for the chiefs."
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Now, now. Credit where it's due.I concede that I put too much faith in America's youth. With 8 out of 10 of you opposing the President, with your friends and classmates dying daily in a war you disapprove of, with your future being mortgaged to pay for rich old peoples' tax breaks, you somehow managed to sit on your asses and watch the Cartoon Network while aging homophobic hillbillies carried the day. You voted with the exact same anemic percentage that you did in 2000. You suck. Seriously, y'do. [Cheers, applause] Thank you. Thank you very much. There are some who would say that I sound bitter, that now is the time for healing, to bring the nation together.
Let me tell you a little story. Last night, I watched the returns come in with some friends here in Boston. As the night progressed, people began to talk half-seriously about secession, a red state/blue state split. The reasoning was this: We in blue states produce the vast majority of the wealth in this country and pay the most taxes, and you in the red states receive the majority of the money from those taxes while complaining about 'em. We in the blue states are the only ones who've been attacked by foreign terrorists, yet you in the red states are gung ho to fight a war in our name. We in the blue states produce the entertainment that you consume so greedily each day, while you in the red states show open disdain for us and our values. Blue state civilians are the actual victims and targets of the war on terror, while red state civilians are the ones standing behind us and yelling "Oh, yeah!? Bring it on!"
More than 40% of you Bush voters still believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. I'm impressed by that, truly I am. Your sons and daughters who might die in this war know it's not true, the people in the urban centers where al Qaeda wants to attack know it's not true, but those of you who are at practically no risk believe this easy lie because you can. As part of my concession speech, let me say that I really envy that luxury. I concede that. Healing? We, the people at risk from terrorists, the people who subsidize you, the people who speak in glowing and respectful terms about the heartland of America while that heartland insults and excoriates us... we wanted some healing. We spoke loud and clear. And you refused to give it to us, largely because of your high moral values. You knew better: America doesn't need its allies, doesn't need to share the burden, doesn't need to unite the world, doesn't need to provide for its future. Hell no. Not when it's got a human shield of pointy-headed, atheistic, nconfrontational breadwinners who are willing to pay the bills and play nice in the vain hope of winning a vote that we can never have. Because we're "morally inferior," I suppose, we are supposed to respect your values while you insult ours. And the big joke here is that for 20 years, we've done just that. It's not a "ha-ha" funny joke, I realize, but it's a joke all the same.
Being an independent candidate gives me one luxury - as well as conceding the election today, I am also announcing my candidacy for President in 2008. [Wild applause, screams] Thank you. And I make this pledge to you today: THIS time, next time, there will be no pandering. This time I will run with all the open and joking contempt for my opponents that our President demonstrated towards the cradle of liberty, the Ivy League intellectuals, the "media elite," and the "white-wine sippers." This time I will not pretend that the simple folk of America know just as much as the people who devote their lives to serving and studying the nation and the world. They don't. So that's why I'm asking for your vote in 2008, America. I'm talking to you, you ignorant, slack-jawed yokels, you bible-thumping, inbred drones, you redneck, racist, chest-thumping, perennially duped grade-school grads. Vote for me, because I know better, and I truly believe that I can help your smug, sorry asses. Thank you, and may God, if he does in fact exist, bless each and every one of you.
... well, a fella can dream, can't he?
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
I'm not referring to the latest attempt to reconquer Iraq, but rather the wholesale political revenge campaign being waged by the hard-liners in the Bush administration against anybody and everybody inside the government who challenged the way the second Persian Gulf war in a decade was marketed and run.
Out: Secretary of State Colin Powell, whose political epitaph should now read, "You break it, you own it" for his prescient but unwanted warning to the president on the danger of imperial overreach in Iraq.
Out: Top CIA officials who dared challenge, behind the scenes, the White House's unprecedented exploitation of raw intelligence data in order to sell a war to a Congress and a public hungry for revenge after 9/11.
Out: Veteran CIA counterterrorism expert and Osama bin Laden hunter Michael Scheuer, better known as the best-selling author "Anonymous," whose balanced and devastating critiques of the Iraq war, the CIA and the way President Bush is handling the war on terror have been a welcome counterpoint to the "it's true if we say it's true" idiocy of the White House PR machine.
Meanwhile, incompetence begat by ideological blindness has been rewarded. The neoconservatives who created the ongoing Iraq mess have more than survived the failure of their impossibly rosy scenarios for a peaceful and democratic Iraq under U.S. rule. In fact, despite calls for their resignations — from the former head of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. Anthony Zinni, among others — the neocon gang is thriving. They have not been held responsible for the "16 words" about yellowcake, the rise and fall of Ahmad Chalabi, the Abu Ghraib scandal, the post-invasion looting of Iraq's munitions stores and the disastrous elimination of the Iraqi armed forces.
As of today, the neocons on Zinni's list of losers — Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz; the vice president's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby; National Security Council staffer Elliott Abrams; Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld — are all still employed even as Bush's new director of central intelligence, Porter J. Goss, is eviscerating the CIA's leadership.
This is the culmination of a three-year campaign by the president's men to scapegoat the CIA for the fact that 9/11 occurred on Bush's watch.
So far, half a dozen of the nation's top spymasters have been forced out abruptly — a strange way to handle things at a time when Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are still seeking to attack the U.S. Ironically, this all comes as Goss is suppressing a lengthy study, prepared for Congress by the CIA's inspector general, that, according to an intelligence official who has read it, names individuals in the government responsible for failures that paved the way for the 9/11 attacks.
Thus Bush, with Goss as his hatchet man, is having it both ways: He can be seen to be cleaning house at the CIA — when he is simply punishing independent voices — while denying Congress access to an independent audit of actual intelligence failures.
We should remember that as flawed as its performance was under former Director George J. Tenet, the CIA at least sometimes tried to be a counterweight to the fraudulent claims of Rumsfeld's and Dick Cheney's neoconservative staffs. All of the nation's traditional intelligence centers were bypassed by a rogue operation based in Feith's Office of Special Plans. Feith was given broad access to raw intelligence streams — the better to cherry-pick factoids and fabrications that found their way into even the president's crucial prewar State of the Union address.
Now, by successfully discarding those who won't buy into the administration's ideological fantasies of remaking the world in our image, the neoconservatives have consolidated control of the United States' vast military power.
With the ravaging of the CIA and the ousting of Powell — instead of the more-deserving Rumsfeld — the coup of the neoconservatives is complete. They have achieved a remarkable political victory by failing upward."
Monday, November 15, 2004
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's law. I have learned a great deal from you and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws
and how to follow them:
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and
female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not to Canadians.Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (think beef barbecue) (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
4. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
5. A friend of mine feels that, even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than
homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there degrees of abomination?
6. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses.
Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
7. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?
8. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
9. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing
garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He
also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them (Lev. 24:10-16)? Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws(Lev. 20:14)?
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Daily Mirror: LONDON
They say that in life you get what you deserve. Well, today America has deservedly got a lawless cowboy to lead them further into carnage and isolation and the unreserved contempt of most of the rest of the world.
This once-great country has pulled up its drawbridge for another four years and stuck a finger up to the billions of us forced to share the same air. And in doing so, it has shown itself to be a fearful, backward-looking and very small nation.
This should have been the day when Americans finally answered their critics by raising their eyes from their own sidewalks and looking outward towards the rest of humanity.
A self-serving, dim-witted, draft-dodging, gung-ho little rich boy, whose idea of courage is to yell: "I feel good," as he unleashes an awesome fury which slaughters 100,000 innocents for no other reason than greed and vanity.
A dangerous chameleon, his charming exterior provides cover for a power-crazed clique of Doctor Strangeloves whose goal is to increase America's grip on the world's economies and natural resources.
And in foolishly backing him, Americans have given the go-ahead for more unilateral pre-emptive strikes, more world instability and most probably another 9/11.
To the overwhelming majority of you who didn't, I simply ask: Have you learnt nothing? Do you despise your own image that much?
Do you care so little about the world beyond your shores? How could you do this to yourselves? How appalling must one man's record at home and abroad be for you to reject him?
You have to feel sorry for the millions of Yanks in the big cities like New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco who voted to kick him out. These are the sophisticated side of the electorate who recognise a gibbon when they see one. As for the ones who put him in, across the Bible Belt and the South, us outsiders can only feel pity. To the tens of millions who voted for John Kerry, my commiserations.
...Self inflicted wounds are always the most painful.s
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Sunday, November 07, 2004
There's a saying in the army --"Once is bad luck, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action."
Friday, November 05, 2004
What are the salient facts of this election?
Bush is arguably the dumbest and without doubt the most inarticulate candidate on a national level in living memory, probably in history. I have never heard of so many reputable insiders (esp. Clarke and O'Neill) not only quitting in disgust but actually laying out the gory details demonstrating that this emporer has neither clothes nor prospect of acquiring same.
He ran on the worst record of any incumbent (considering both economic and foreign policy results) in living memory, possibly in history.
Granted, he had funding. The Coalition of the the Conniving and the Clueless managed to scrape up about half a billion dollars.
Most of his supporters (the latter half of the aforemention coalition) believe many things are just flat out wrong, and fairly widely reported to be wrong in media other than broadcast. Facts simply do not matter to them.
The Dimmocrats settled on a pretty good slate (significantly better than 2000's) very early and dedicated themselves to a surprisingly united and well-funded effort to unseat Bush, running an arguably indifferent campaign but still better than 2000's.
How could we lose? Well, we lost.
We really did not even come close.
Now it's time to face the hard conclusion: if you can't beat such a bozo with such a bad record, you simply cannot win in the foreseeable future, period. End of sentence. GAME OVER.
True, Bush will have only 4 more years to inflict his peculiar brand of devastation on the country and the planet. In that 4 years you should expect
over 3 TRILLION dollars more heaped onto the national debt (combining federal and current accounts deficits), and
3 more Scalia clones joining the Supremes, with an average life expectancy of 30 years each.
And that's just for openers.
The surging debt picture will be accompanied by rising interest rates and a declining dollar. If real estate prices continue their rise in this environment, it will be a minor miracle. We could be looking at a perfect monetary storm.
The Conniving will continue to make out like bandits and the Clueless will continue to support them at their own considerable expense. Employment remains about 9 million under where it should be at this point in the cycle, October's 300K new jobs notwithstanding. And the education system continues to turn out HS grads ranking about 24th in the world, slightly ahead of Nigeria's. Two million more every year.
We'll likely see continued ineptitude in the management of the military, more dead than I care to imagine, and a draft is certainly possible if not likely. Enlistment rates for the guard and reserve units are a closely held secret, probably for good reason.
I refuse to speculate on the atrocities that will be committed on the Constitution, but given that the Dark Side has working majorities in damn near everything including both houses, the courts, and most state legislatures, anything is possible.
Fast forward to '08 when the GOP offers up a significantly improved model of the workhorse Bush II:
Will the Clueless be any less ignorant or the Conniving less generous in their funding? No. Even an unmitigated string of disasters in the next 4 years will not deter them, and it is hard to imagine how we could be more inspired than we were this year. We'll still be outmanned and outgunned, the issues no better defined, and the differences in character of the candidates no clearer.
Finally, there's the tsunami of accumulated deficits and exploding Medicare/Social Security payments (no, we didn't put all those past payments in a lock box, and yes, Medicare will get top billing as outlays race past Social Security's) that's piling up for anyone with half a brain to see, but it will not swamp the economy by '08 despite what some economists say.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office warns that “substantial reductions in the projected growth of spending or a sizable increase in taxes – or both – will probably be necessary" but as David Broder notes, "It’s not true that Washington can’t agree about anything. Across the political spectrum there’s a clear recognition that the present path of budget-making is unsustainable – in fact, ruinous.”
Paul Krugman thinks economic chaos will start about 5 years out but I think he's a tad pessimistic. We probably have 8 to 10 good years left before that debt tsunami dominates the economic landscape, maybe 15 before it really hits. Meanwhile, rich folk should continue to make out rather well, assuming their investments are prudently diversified overseas. (Of the money flowing into equity mutual funds this week, %70 went to foreign markets. And that's with a rip-roaring rally on.)
Soldier on, optimists. I wish you all the best but watch out, the Denial River has some nasty rapids. No one's giving the order to abandon ship, nevertheless I'm sleeping in the lifeboats.
...Life jacket, anyone?
Thursday, November 04, 2004
many's the time i've been mistaken
and many times confused
yes and i've often felt forsaken
and certainly misused
oh but i'm all right
i'm all right
i'm just weary to my bones
still you don't expect to be bright and bon vivant
so far away from home
so far away from home
i don't know a soul who's not been battered
i don't have a friend feels who at ease
i don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to it's knees
oh but it's all right
it's all right
we've lived so well so long
still when i think of the road we're traveling on
i wonder what's gone wrong
i can't help it i wonder
what's gone wrong
and i dreamed i was dying
i dreamed that my soul
and looking back down at me
and i dreamed i was flying
high up above
my eyes could clearly see
the statue of liberty
sailing away to sea
and i dreamed i was dying
oh we come on a ship they call the mayflower
we come on a ship that sailed the moon
we come in the ages most uncertain hour
and sing an american tune
oh but it's all right
it's all right
you can't be forever blessed
still tomorrow's going to be another working day
and i'm trying to get some rest
that's all i'm trying
to get some rest
...and fade to black.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Saturday, October 30, 2004
"It's not just Bush who's living in a bubble... A majority of those who support him are fundamentally misinformed about key justifications for going to war against Iraq, and other important factors in his foreign policy. A new report from PIPA (the Project on Policy Alternatives) titled, "Bush Supporters Still Believe Iraq Had WMD or Major Program, Supported al Qaeda" has the following lead findings:
Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.
Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Here again, large majorities of Kerry supporters have exactly opposite perceptions.
The report is based on polls conducted in September and October.
Diaries :: Paul Rosenberg's diary :: Thu Oct 21st, 2004 at 12:53:43 PM EST
In a relatively short time, PIPA has established itself as the leading source of in-depth information about public opinion and knowledge in foreign policy, focusing particular attention on misperceptions that underpin conventional wisdom.
Not only do they highlight misperceptions among the public, equally--or perhaps more importantly--they highlight misperceptions among the policy elite, including the elite media. Here, they find that it really matters that Bush/Cheney contiune to mislead on these crucial points:
Steven Kull, director of PIPA, comments, "One of the reasons that Bush supporters have these beliefs is that they perceive the Bush administration confirming them. Interestingly, this is one point on which Bush and Kerry supporters agree." Eighty-two percent of Bush supporters perceive the Bush administration as saying that Iraq had WMD (63%) or that Iraq had a major WMD program (19%). Likewise, 75% say that the Bush administration is saying Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda. Equally large majorities of Kerry supporters hear the Bush administration expressing these views--73% say the Bush administration is saying Iraq had WMD (11% a major program) and 74% that Iraq was substantially supporting al Qaeda.
Steven Kull adds, "Another reason that Bush supporters may hold to these beliefs is that they have not accepted the idea that it does not matter whether Iraq had WMD or supported al Qaeda. Here too they are in agreement with Kerry supporters." Asked whether the US should have gone to war with Iraq if US intelligence had concluded that Iraq was not making WMD or providing support to al Qaeda, 58% of Bush supporters said the US should not have, and 61% assume that in this case the President would not have. Kull continues, "To support the president and to accept that he took the US to war based on mistaken assumptions likely creates substantial cognitive dissonance, and leads Bush supporters to suppress awareness of unsettling information about prewar Iraq."
Other areas where Bush supporters suppress dissonant information includes the opposition of world opinion to (1) the US invasion of Iraq and (2) the re-election of Bush, and Bush's opposition to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the treaty banning land mines, the Kyoto (global warming) Protocols, the International Criminal Court, and the inclusion of labor and environmental standards in trade agreements.
Why the disconnect?
"The roots of the Bush supporters' resistance to information," according to Steven Kull, "very likely lie in the traumatic experience of 9/11 and equally in the near pitch-perfect leadership that President Bush showed in its immediate wake. This appears to have created a powerful bond between Bush and his supporters--and an idealized image of the President that makes it difficult for his supporters to imagine that he could have made incorrect judgments before the war, that world public opinion could be critical of his policies or that the President could hold foreign policy positions that are at odds with his supporters."
Read more here, with links
Thursday, October 28, 2004
"When Mr Bush decided to frame his foreign policy in the sort of language and objectives previously associated with Woodrow Wilson, John Kennedy or Ronald Reagan, he was bound to be greeted with cynicism. Yet he was right to do so. To paraphrase a formula invented by his ally, Tony Blair, Mr Bush was promising to be “tough on terrorism, tough on the causes of terrorism”, and the latter he attributed to the lack of democracy, human rights and opportunity in much of the world, especially the Arab countries. To call for an effort to change that lamentable state of affairs was inspiring and surely correct. The credibility of the call was enhanced by this month's Afghan election, and may in future be enhanced by successful and free elections in Iraq. But that remains ahead, and meanwhile Mr Bush's credibility has been considerably undermined not just by Guant?namo but also by two big things: by the sheer incompetence and hubristic thinking evident in the way in which his team set about the rebuilding of Iraq, once Saddam Hussein's regime had been toppled; and by the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, which strengthened the suspicion that the mistreatment or even torture of prisoners was being condoned.
Invading Iraq was not a mistake. Although the intelligence about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction has been shown to have been flimsy and, with hindsight, wrong, Saddam's record of deception in the 12 years since the first Gulf war meant that it was right not to give him the benefit of the doubt. The containment scheme deployed around him was unsustainable and politically damaging: military bases in holy Saudi Arabia, sanctions that impoverished and even killed Iraqis and would have collapsed. But changing the regime so incompetently was a huge mistake. By having far too few soldiers to provide security and by failing to pay Saddam's remnant army, a task that was always going to be long and hard has been made much, much harder. Such incompetence is no mere detail: thousands of Iraqis have died as a result and hundreds of American soldiers. The eventual success of the mission, while still possible, has been put in unnecessary jeopardy. So has America's reputation in the Islamic world, both for effectiveness and for moral probity."
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
The delusions and deceit on Iraq just keep coming
President Bush wishes to be viewed, and judged, as a "war president." Fair enough.
How has he done in leading the "war on terror" that was thrust upon him? Less well than his chest-thumping would have you believe.
How has he done in leading a second war - Iraq - in which he exalted his gut instinct over advice and evidence?
Very poorly, indeed.
The President's central claim is that these are prongs of the same war, that the Iraq invasion was the logical, urgent next step in the battle against those who attacked us on 9/11. He repeats this with ever more fervor as evidence mounts that he is flat wrong.
No Iraqi weapons stockpiles were found. The case that Saddam Hussein had major ties to al-Qaeda or 9/11, always tissue thin, has evaporated.
Predictions his team made about how a liberated Iraq would morph smoothly into a model democracy have collapsed amid blood and chaos.
Yet the President takes it as gospel that his gut instinct was right. Patriotism does not require Americans to indulge this President's delusions. They should view these wars with clear eyes. Iraq is a scary but salvageable mess from which the United States can make no easy exit.
The Iraq-terrorism linkage has become, with awful irony, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Iraq, by our own doing, has now become a magnet and rallying point for Islamic jihadists. Creating a stable, self-governing Iraq is imperative. A strife-torn Iraq would be a calamitous breeding ground for terror.
Americans also need to grasp that the struggle to thwart and roll up the terrorist network that really did attack us on 9/11 is not going as well as Bush campaign rhetoric claims.
The Afghanistan invasion was justified and the recent election there was a strikingly hopeful sign. But the United States pulled its punches in Afghanistan (saving some for Iraq?) and failed to eradicate al-Qaeda. Rather than cowering in a corner, since 2001 al-Qaeda and its allies have struck hideous blows in Bali, Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta and elsewhere.
Yet, polls still show Americans trust President Bush over John Kerry to protect them from terror attacks.
Why? First, they are scared, with reason. They want to believe and trust their commander in chief. And they are decent folks. They don't want their country to kill, or U.S. soldiers to die, for no good reason. So the truth of Iraq - a war based on false premises, where military victory was undermined by errors that left America less safe - is hard to accept.
What's more, this election offers two views of Iraq: the President's blithe confidence that all will work out, and Kerry's honest assessment that this is a mess that will be difficult to clean up. Which view is more appealing when you're scared? Unfortunately, not the realistic one that stands the best chance of salvaging the situation. The President and his team add to the confusion with distortions.
They are masters at insisting, with straight faces and indignation that anyone could doubt them, that the sky is green. They invented a new rationale for the Iraq war every time an old one frayed. Now, they rewrite history feverishly to excuse their mistakes. Let's review and debunk:
War is unpredictable; no plan could have anticipated what's gone wrong in Iraq. Funny, a prewar State Department study - along with many think-tank experts and journalists - predicted quite accurately what could go wrong and how to avoid it. But Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld shelved the State study, and did his own thing. It was as if he, Bush and Vice President Cheney had rose-colored glasses surgically attached to their noses. Their plan relied on a shared fantasy: joyous liberation followed by a swift, oil-financed transition to a new government led by their pet, the liar Ahmed Chalabi.
The generals in Iraq got whatever they asked for. Everybody outside the Bush-Cheney campaign now agrees too few troops were sent to secure Iraq. That mistake, along with the bad decision to disband the entire Iraqi army, enabled the insurgency. But generals who disputed Rumsfeld's faith in lean force levels felt the lash of his disapproval. So they shut up.
Everyone, including John Kerry, thought Hussein was a threat before the war. They thought that because the administration's National Intelligence Estimate screamed it. That estimate was, in the phrase of Greg Thielmann, the State Department's top Iraq weapons analyst until late 2002, "chock full of hypothetical exaggerations intended to scare the bejeezus out of people."
Yes, Mr. Cheney, it would be awful if a terrorist strolled down Market Street with WMD in a suitcase. But the real question in 2003 was: What were the chances of Hussein's making that happen? The real answer: about the same as of Philly being hit by a comet. What were the chances of grave threats (al-Qaeda, Iran, North Korea, loose nukes in Russia) growing worse as Bush pursued his Iraq obsession? Answer: a lot higher.
A campaign is under way to scapegoat the CIA for the wrongful estimate. The CIA did lack solid intelligence on Iraq. But some of its analysts tried, as did Theilmann, to dispute the tall tales of WMD that Chalabi and others peddled. But the wild stories fit the preconceptions of Cheney and Rumsfeld, who hustled the false data to the President's desk.
The Duelfer Report confirms we were right. Give this claim high marks for chutzpah. Chief U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer concluded Hussein had no biochemical weapons stockpiles and no nuclear weapons program to speak of. In other words, the main rationale for war was false. Inspections and sanctions had in fact done a fair job of containment. Hussein was, in Thielmann's image: "posting a 'Beware of Dog' sign without buying the dog." Hussein bet that worries about WMD would keep Iran and the United States at bay.
A key point in Duelfer's report, which Bush seizes upon and the Michael Moore crowd glibly ignores, is that Hussein would have rebuilt weapons if sanctions had been lifted. But this did not, as Bush now claims, justify invasion. If Bush hadn't short-circuited inspections by invading, he would have learned the glad news: Iraq was a paper tiger. Then the challenge would have been maintaining a tough inspections regime while cleaning up the corrupt oil-for-food program. Not easy, but nowhere near as risky as invading and occupying an Islamic nation.
We're fighting the terrorists there so we don't have to fight them here. This claim has gained amazing currency, given that it makes no sense. Sadly, Osama bin Laden can walk and chew gum at the same time. What kind of moral thinking is that anyway? Is it really OK for U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians to be sacrificed as targets in a Baghdad shooting gallery - just as long as nothing blows up in Abington?
It's dangerous to switch leaders in midwar.Let's say you're riding in a car. The driver, ignoring road signs and your warning cries, drives into oncoming traffic and crashes. Would you insist on having him drive you home from the accident site?
How can Kerry lead a war he calls a mistake? If an onlooker took charge at the scene, asking for help to clear the wreckage and avoid more accidents, others might pitch in, even if they thought the driver had been a fool.
Kerry's plan for Iraq is the same as the Bush team's. Largely true, but not because Kerry's aping the other guys. The cascading failures in Iraq have forced the Bush team to adopt policies it had mocked when others, including Kerry, proposed them.
Kerry remains too optimistic about the level of help he can extract from European allies. He'll have a hard sell. But it's possible that a new president with fresh credibility - derived from admitting U.S. errors and recognizing others' interests - might obtain some useful aid. Bush couldn't. Nor, his credibility in tatters, could he easily rouse old allies to meet a new, genuine threat.
There is no magic plan for Iraq. The choice is between a candidate who is at least clear about the stakes and problems - and a President who isn't, because he can't admit the deceits, delusions and errors that got us into this fix.
... give up?
Friday, October 22, 2004
"Last week we brought you the news that Larry Russell, head of the South Dakota GOP's get-out-the-vote operation (Republican Victory Program) had resigned along with several of his staffers amidst a burgeoning vote fraud scandal.
The Bush campaign promptly brought Russell and several of his newly-resigned staffers to Ohio to run the get-out-the-vote effort there.
Now South Dakota officials have handed down indictments against six of Russell's South Dakota staffers, including at least three he brought with him to take care of business in Ohio.
" the Bush administration ... bulldozed internal dissent, overlooked its own intelligence and relentlessly pushed for confrontation with Iraq."
WASHINGTON -- Supporters of President Bush are less knowledgeable about the president's foreign policy positions and are more likely to be mistaken about factual issues in world affairs than voters who back John F. Kerry, a survey released yesterday indicated.
A large majority of self-identified Bush voters polled believe Saddam Hussein provided "substantial support" to Al Qaeda, and 47 percent believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before the US invasion. Among the president's supporters, 57 percent queried think international public opinion favors Bush's reelection, and 51 percent believe that most Islamic countries support "US-led efforts to fight terrorism."
No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, the Sept. 11 Commission found no evidence of substantial Iraqi support for Al Qaeda, and international public opinion polls have shown widespread opposition to Bush's reelection.
In contrast, among Kerry supporters polled only 26 percent think Iraq had such weapons, 30 percent say Iraq was linked to Al Qaeda, and 1 percent said foreign public opinion favors Bush.
The polls results, said Steven Kull, the head of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, which conducted the survey, showed that Americans are so polarized two weeks before the election that many lack even a common understanding of the facts."
... no, not quite -- it's not the lack of a common understanding of facts that is polarizing. It's the willful ignorance of Bush supporters, i.e. those from the latter half of The Coalition of the Conniving and the Clueless.
what are your Top 10?
55. The Bush Administration, in violation of the law, refused to allow Medicare actuary Richard Foster to tell members of Congress the actual cost of their Medicare bill. Instead, they repeated a figure they knew was $100 billion too low.
Source: Washington Post, realcities.com
63. In a case before the Supreme Court, the Bush Administrations sided with HMOs--arguing that patients shouldn't be allowed to sue HMOs when they are improperly denied treatment. With the Administration's help, the HMOs won.
Source: ABC News
84. The Bush Administration, without ever charging him with a crime, arrested US citizen Jos? Padilla at an airport in Chicago, held him on a naval brig in South Carolina for two years, denied him access to a lawyer and prohibited any contact with his friends and family.
99. The Bush Administration has spent millions of dollars and defied numerous court orders to conceal from the public who participated in Vice President Cheney's 2001 energy task force.
Source: Washington Post
#101 (NOT LISTED - I WONDER WHY...) The Pentagon's Office of Strategic Plans
"Kwiatkowski got there just as war fever was spreading, or being spread as she would later argue, through the halls of Washington. Indeed, shortly after her arrival, a piece of NESA was broken off, expanded and re-dubbed with the Orwellian name of the Office of Special Plans. The OSP’s task was, ostensibly, to help the Pentagon develop policy around the Iraq crisis.
She would soon conclude that the OSP — a pet project of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld — was more akin to a nerve center for what she now calls a “neoconservative coup, a hijacking of the Pentagon.”
Though a lifelong conservative, Kwiatkowski found herself appalled as the radical wing of the Bush administration, including her superiors in the Pentagon planning department, bulldozed internal dissent, overlooked its own intelligence and relentlessly pushed for confrontation with Iraq.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
[sfo] Politics - World (context)
Memo for the President-Elect
from a straight shooter ...
By David H. Hackworth
Since our commander-in-chief announced “mission accomplished” on May 1, 2003, the insurgents have seized the initiative in Iraq. And we’re also not winning the even-more-consequential worldwide battle against the Islamic jihadists. All because our forces are trying to do too much with too little the wrong way.
Lately, I’ve been shoveling through literally truckloads of reader queries along the lines of “OK, Hack, you spent most of the past two years griping, so what’s your solution?” It’s a question that needs an answer. So, as a long-term student of insurgent warfare and a soldier who’s fought guerrillas in post-World-War-II Italy, during the Korean War and for more than four years in Vietnam, here’s what I would do:
* Immediately fire SecDef Donald Rumsfeld, all of his Pentagon senior civilian assistants and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers.
* Replace Rumsfeld with retired Gen. Anthony Zinni and give this tough, smart, proven leader a free hand to bring in the best people to reshape and streamline our armed forces for the long counterinsurgency fight ahead.
* Fire National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and replace her with retired Gens. Wes Clark or John Sheehan.
* Establish a military objective – an often-neglected Principle of War – that will include: how the U.S. is going to regain the lost initiative (another neglected Principle of War) and how we’re going to take and hold the turf seized by insurgents; how we will then win the Iraqi people to our side in the fight against the insurgents; how the nascent Iraqi defense shield will eventually replace our forces; and a detailed, coherent exit plan.
[sfo] Politics - World (context)
Hersh uncovers another atrocity
Hersch claims to have spoken with a first lieutenant in charge of a unit stationed halfway between Baghdad and the Syrian border.
"His group was bivouacking outside of town in an agricultural area, and had hired 30 or so Iraqis to guard a local granary. A few weeks passed. They got to know the men they hired, and to like them. Then orders came down from Baghdad that the village would be "cleared." Another platoon from the soldier's company came and executed the Iraqi granary guards. All of them.
"He said they just shot them one by one. And his people, and he, and the villagers of course, went nuts," Hersh said quietly. "He was hysterical, totally hysterical. He went to the company captain, who said, 'No, you don't understand, that's a kill. We got 36 insurgents. Don't you read those stories when the Americans say we had a combat maneuver and 15 insurgents were killed?'"
... History repeats itself, first as tragedy, ...
[sfo] Politics - World (context)
Elmer Andersen, former Republican governor
"I am more fearful for the state of this nation than I have ever been [you are not alone on that score, Elmer]-- because this country is in the hands of an evil man: Dick Cheney. It is eminently clear that it is he who is running the country, not George W. Bush.
Bush's phony posturing as cocksure leader of the free world -- symbolized by his victory symbol on the aircraft carrier and "mission accomplished" statement -- leave me speechless. The mission had barely been started, let alone finished, and 18 months later it still rages on. His ongoing "no-regrets," no-mistakes stance and untruths on the war -- as well as on the floundering economy and Bush administration joblessness -- also disappoint and worry me."
[sfo] Politics - World (context)
Media conglomerates using the PUBLIC airwaves
to further their private POLITICAL agendas?
Oops, I forgot -- it's the Politics of Anything Goes now.
[sfo] Politics - World (context)
William Milliken, former Republican governor
"This president has pursued policies pandering to the extreme right wing across a wide variety of issues and has exacerbated the polarization and the strident, uncivil tone of much of what passes for political discourse in this country today,'' Milliken said in the statement.
Milliken, a moderate Republican, has been critical of Bush and has faulted the GOP on such issues as same-sex marriage, flag-burning and abortion.
The Bush campaign dismissed Milliken's endorsement, saying he led under a different time."
... yeah, back when integrity was valued and hypocrisy scorned.
[lax] Politics - World (context)
Does that mean they'll rehire their Washington
bureau chief? ...
"Sinclair Broadcast fired its Washington bureau chief, saying he revealed company business when he discussed its upcoming program on a documentary critical of John Kerry's anti-Vietnam War activities.
Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. said in a statement late Monday that it fired reporter Jon Leiberman and that "we are disappointed that Jon's political views caused him to violate company policy and speak to the press about company business."
In his initial remarks, published Monday by The (Baltimore) Sun, Leiberman called the Sinclair show "biased political propaganda, with clear intentions to sway this election."
Leiberman said he was fired Monday by Joseph DeFeo, Sinclair's vice president for news, and escorted out of the company's headquarters in Hunt Valley, Md."
... somehow I rather doubt it.
[sfo] Politics - World (context)
Marlow Cook, former Republican Senator
"Lyndon Johnson said America could have guns and butter at the same time. This administration says you can have guns, butter and no taxes at the same time. God help us if we are not smart enough to know that is wrong, and we live by it to our peril. We in this nation have a serious problem. Its almost worse than terrorism: We are broke. Our government is borrowing a billion dollars a day. They are now borrowing from the government pension program, for apparently they have gotten as much out of the Social Security Trust as it can take. Our House and Senate announce weekly grants for every kind of favorite local programs to save legislative seats, and it's all borrowed money."
... it's almost like they were leaving letters saying, "stop me before I borrow again!" and nobody was paying attention.
[sfo] Politics - World (context)
Name your poison: Why Deficits Matter
Deficit spending drives up the interest we pay every year.
When the interest is a fairly small fraction of the budget, it is easy to hide without specifically addressing it -- it gets absorbed in tax, spending, and budget financing (debt limit) bills that are flowing through Congress that year. But if you've just run a big deficit, say $500B, you've gotta come up with an ADDITIONAL $25 billion every year--FOREVER. Now it starts to hurt. And if you run $500B deficits every year for 8 years, you've added $4,000B to the debt and now you gotta come up with $200 billion MORE.
Name your poison: spending cuts, taxes, inflation, or more borrow&pray.
[sfo] Politics - World (context)
Kerry pulling away in key states
"latest Zogby Interactive Battleground States poll released today shows that no lead that Bush has in any battleground state is safely beyond the MOE, and are therefore all in play. On the other hand, Kerry seems to have moved out to safe leads in six of the nine states he leads in, including Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and importantly Pennsylvania. Kerry is closing in on Bush in West Virginia and is adding to a small lead in Wisconsin."
... just like the RedSox: gonna build up your hopes again, then break your heart and smash it flatter than yesterday's roadkill.
[sfo] Politics - World (context)
Kerry supporters expect Bush victory
"Two polls indicate the majority of John Kerry's Democratic supporters expect him to lose to U.S. President George Bush, the Washington Times said Wednesday.
In polls by Fox News and the TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics, roughly a quarter of Kerry supporters who have an opinion on the outcome of the election predict the Massachusetts senator will lose.
Popularity polls by Gallup, Fox and ABC News have Bush ahead by 8, 7 and 5 points, respectively. However, those same polls show the president leading by margins of 20, 17 and 23 on the question of who respondents expect to win the election. "
... or at least on who the Supreme Court will say the winner is.
[sfo] Politics - World (context)
Bush must be the Annointed One
One more from the "Bush-Detached From Reality" file, and a made-to-order Kerry commercial in swing states:
The founder of the U.S. Christian Coalition said Tuesday he told President George W. Bush before the invasion of Iraq that he should prepare Americans for the likelihood of casualties, but the president told him, "We're not going to have any casualties."
Pat Robertson, an ardent Bush supporter, said he had that conversation with the president in Nashville, Tennessee, before the March 2003 invasion. He described Bush in the meeting as "the most self-assured man I've ever met in my life."
... but will Kerry get any traction from this? History says NO.
[sfo] Politics - World (context)
Bush suppressing CIA report
"The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.
"It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that "the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward."
... excuse me! "look like " ??? They weren't and they didn't. Period.
[sfo] Politics - World (context)
Bush sent our troops out there to die!
His own general blows the whistle...
my favorite part :
"He also protested in his letter, sent Dec. 4 to the number two officer in the Army, with copies to other senior officials, that his soldiers still needed protective inserts to upgrade 36,000 sets of body armor but that their delivery had been postponed twice in the month before he was writing. There were 131,000 U.S. troops in Iraq at the time."
[sfo] Politics - World (context)
Have a look at my crystal ball
Not many places to raise a trillion -- when are they gonna start feeling used?
We're already largely dependent on foreign gov'ts (principally China & Japan) to fund the deficit every year with their purchases of our bonds. With a less-than-robust economy of late they've been content with 10-year notes near historic lows of 4%. But with the dollar in decline and the skyrocketing $500B current accounts deficit (which is also funded by IOUs to foreigners) showing no sign of slowing down, you should not expect these benevolent entities to fund our government's reckless adventure in faith-based budgeting indefinitely. The 10-year note could easily romp up to 8% fairly quickly. Mortgage rates will follow right behind. Adjustable mortgage holders will by paying upwards of 10% (if not simply defaulting) and fixed mortgage holders won't be taking out new mortgages either by selling and moving up or cashing out with another refi anymore, and property values are poised to take a tumble -- that could rip a huge chunk of money per household out of consumer spending as well as plunge some property value-dependent communities heavily into the red.
Goodbye expansion, hello rip-roaring inflationary recession.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Where is the f***ing OUTRAGE ???...
"The top U.S. commander in Iraq complained to the Pentagon last winter that his supply situation was so poor that it threatened Army troops' ability to fight, according to an official document that has surfaced only now.
The lack of key spare parts for gear vital to combat operations, such as tanks and helicopters, was causing problems so severe, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez wrote in a letter to top Army officials, that "I cannot continue to support sustained combat operations with rates this low."
Sanchez, who was the senior commander on the ground in Iraq from the summer of 2003 until the summer of 2004, said in his letter that Army units in Iraq were "struggling just to maintain . . . relatively low readiness rates" on key combat systems, such as M-1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, anti-mortar radars and Black Hawk helicopters.
He also protested in his letter, sent Dec. 4 to the number two officer in the Army, with copies to other senior officials, that his soldiers still needed protective inserts to upgrade 36,000 sets of body armor but that their delivery had been postponed twice in the month before he was writing. There were 131,000 U.S. troops in Iraq at the time."
From the Hoover's Larry Diamond,
"...Iraq today falls far short of what the Bush administration promised. As a result of a long chain of U.S. miscalculations, the coalition occupation has left Iraq in far worse shape than it need have and has diminished the long-term prospects of democracy there. Iraqis, Americans, and other foreigners continue to be killed. What went wrong? ...
In truth, around 300,000 troops might have been enough to make Iraq largely secure after the war. But doing so would also have required different kinds of troops, with different rules of engagement. The coalition should have deployed vastly more military police and other troops trained for urban patrols, crowd control, civil reconstruction, and peace maintenance and enforcement. Tens of thousands of soldiers with sophisticated monitoring equipment should have been posted along the borders with Syria and Iran to intercept the flows of foreign terrorists, Iranian intelligence agents, money, and weapons.
But Washington failed to take such steps, for the same reasons it decided to occupy Iraq with a relatively light force: hubris and ideology. Contemptuous of the State Department's regional experts who were seen as too "soft" to remake Iraq, a small group of Pentagon officials ignored the elaborate postwar planning the State Department had overseen through its "Future of Iraq" project, which had anticipated many of the problems that emerged after the invasion. Instead of preparing for the worst, Pentagon planners assumed that Iraqis would joyously welcome U.S. and international troops as liberators..."
...Yadda-yadda-yadda. Wussamatter, Larry -- didn't you get that memo?
"...Never mind the details - I couldn't even find a clear statement that Kerry wants to roll back recent high-income tax cuts and use the money to cover most of the uninsured.
When reports mentioned the Kerry plan at all, it was usually horse race analysis - how it's playing, not what's in it.
On the other hand, everyone knows Teresa Heinz Kerry told someone to "shove it," [but] none of the transcripts I've read mention the target of her ire works for Richard Mellon Scaife, a billionaire who financed smear campaigns against the Clintons - including accusations of murder...And viewers learned nothing about Scaife's long vendetta against Heinz Kerry herself.
There are two issues here, trivialization and bias, but they're related.
Somewhere along the line, TV news stopped reporting on candidates' policies and turned instead to trivia that supposedly reveal their personalities.
We hear about Kerry's haircuts, not his health care proposals. We hear about George Bush's brush-cutting, not his environmental policies.
And since campaign coverage as celebrity profiling has no rules, it offers ample scope for biased reporting.
Notice the voter's reference to "these millionaires." Columbia Journalism Review [finds] a press prone to needlessly introduce Sens. Kerry and Edwards and Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, as millionaires or billionaires, without similar labels for President Bush or Vice President Cheney. ...the Bush campaign has been "hammering away with talking points casting Kerry as out of the mainstream because of his wealth, hoping to influence press coverage."
The campaign isn't claiming Kerry's policies favor the rich - they manifestly don't, while Bush's manifestly do. Instead we're supposed to dislike Kerry simply because he's wealthy (and not notice his opponent is, too).
Republicans, of all people, are practicing the politics of envy, and the media obediently go along. In short, the triumph of the trivial is not a trivial matter.
... BOHICA, baby. It's 4 years until Jeb's turn.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
or maybe more like "NYT for ABB", but let's not quibble ...
We have specific fears about what would happen in a second Bush term, particularly regarding the Supreme Court. The record so far gives us plenty of cause for worry. Thanks to Mr. Bush, Jay Bybee, the author of an infamous Justice Department memo justifying the use of torture as an interrogation technique, is now a federal appeals court judge. Another Bush selection, J. Leon Holmes, a federal judge in Arkansas, has written that wives must be subordinate to their husbands and compared abortion rights activists to Nazis.
Mr. Bush remains enamored of tax cuts but he has never stopped Republican lawmakers from passing massive spending, even for projects he dislikes, like increased farm aid.
If he wins re-election, domestic and foreign financial markets will know the fiscal recklessness will continue.
We look back on the past four years with hearts nearly breaking, both for the lives unnecessarily lost and for the opportunities so casually wasted. Time and again, history invited George W. Bush to play a heroic role, and time and again he chose the wrong course. We believe that with John Kerry as president, the nation will do better.
...we enthusiastically endorse John Kerry for president.
Friday, October 15, 2004
"I got a call last week from a soldier -- it's different now, a lot of communication, 800 numbers. He's an American officer and he was in a unit halfway between Baghdad and the Syrian border. It's a place where we claim we've done great work at cleaning out the insurgency. He was a platoon commander. First lieutenant, ROTC guy.
It was a call about this. He had been bivouacing outside of town with his platoon. It was near, it was an agricultural area, and there was a granary around. And the guys that owned the granary, the Iraqis that owned the granary... It was an area that the insurgency had some control, but it was very quiet, it was not Fallujah. It was a town that was off the mainstream. Not much violence there. And his guys, the guys that owned the granary, had hired, my guess is from his language, I wasn't explicit -- we're talking not more than three dozen, thirty or so guards. Any kind of work people were dying to do. So Iraqis were guarding the granary. His troops were bivouaced, they were stationed there, they got to know everybody...
They were a couple weeks together, they knew each other. So orders came down from the generals in Baghdad, we want to clear the village, like in Samarra. And as he told the story, another platoon from his company came and executed all the guards, as his people were screaming, stop. And he said they just shot them one by one. He went nuts, and his soldiers went nuts. And he's hysterical. He's totally hysterical. And he went to the captain. He was a lieutenant, he went to the company captain. And the company captain said, "No, you don't understand. That's a kill. We got thirty-six insurgents."
... Perfect. Just freaking perfect.
Isolated incidents or a pattern of abuse? .... The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Block the Vote: "Officials have begun a criminal investigation into reports of similar actions by Sproul in Oregon.
Republicans claim, of course, that they did nothing wrong - and that besides, Democrats do it, too. But there haven't been any comparably credible accusations against Democratic voter-registration organizations. And there is a pattern of Republican efforts to disenfranchise Democrats, by any means possible.
Some of these, like the actions reported in Nevada, involve dirty tricks. For example, in 2002 the Republican Party in New Hampshire hired an Idaho company to paralyze Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts by jamming the party's phone banks.
But many efforts involve the abuse of power. For example, Ohio's secretary of state, a Republican, tried to use an archaic rule about paper quality to invalidate thousands of new, heavily Democratic registrations.
That attempt failed. But in Wisconsin, a Republican county executive insists that this year, when everyone expects a record turnout, Milwaukee will receive fewer ballots than it got in 2000 or 2002 - a recipe for chaos at polling places serving urban, mainly Democratic voters.
And Florida is the site of naked efforts to suppress Democratic votes, and the votes of blacks in particular.
Florida's secretary of state recently ruled that voter registrations would be deemed incomplete if those registering failed to check a box affirming their citizenship, even if they had signed an oath saying the same thing elsewhere on the form. Many counties are, sensibly, ignoring this ruling, but it's apparent that some officials have both used this rule and other technicalities to reject applications as incomplete, and delayed notifying would-be voters of problems with their applications until it was too late.
Whose applications get rejected? A Washington Post examination of rejected applications in Duval County found three times as many were from Democrats, compared with Republicans. It also found a strong tilt toward rejection of blacks' registrations."
... more important, where is everyone's GODDAMN SENSE OF OUTRAGE?
What DOES it take to get you out into the street?
ya still gotta wonder ...
Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
Bob Kerrey: LtJG. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-'47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V Purple Hearts.
John Edwards: did not serve.
Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam.
Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-1953.
Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII, receiving the Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars, and Soldier's Medal.
Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
Chuck Robb: Vietnam
Howell Heflin: Silver Star
George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received 311.
Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and Air Medal with 18 Clusters.
Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.
Wesley Clark: U.S. Army, 1966-2000, West Point, Vietnam,
Purple Heart, Silver Star. Retired 4-star general.
John Dingell: WWII vet
John Conyers: Army 1950-57, Korea
Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
Tom Delay: did not serve.
House Whip Roy Blunt: did not serve.
Bill Frist: did not serve.
Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
George Pataki: did not serve.
Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
Rick Santorum: did not serve.
Trent Lott: did not serve.
Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
Jeb Bush: did not serve.
Karl Rove: did not serve.
Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." (Please note: this is the man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism.)
Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
Vin Weber: did not serve.
Richard Perle: did not serve.
Douglas Feith: did not serve.
Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
Richard Shelby: did not serve.
Jon Kyl: did not serve.
Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
Christopher Cox: did not serve.
Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as aviator and flight instructor.
George W. Bush: six-year Nat'l Guard commitment (incomplete).
Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non-combat role making movies.
Gerald Ford: Navy, WWII
Phil Gramm: did not serve.
John McCain: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
Bob Dole: an honorable veteran.
Chuck Hagel: two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star, Vietnam.
Jeff Sessions: Army Reserves, 1973-1986
JC Watts: did not serve.
Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
G.H.W. Bush: Pilot in WWII. Shot down by the Japanese.
Tom Ridge: Bronze Star for Valor in Vietnam.
Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
Clarence Thomas: did not serve
CONSERVATIVE PUNDITS AND PREACHERS
Sean Hannity: did not serve.
Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.')
Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
Michael Savage: did not serve.
George Will: did not serve.
Chris Matthews: did not serve.
Paul Gigot: did not serve.
Bill Bennett: did not serve.
Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
Bill Kristol: did not serve.
Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
Michael Medved: did not serve.
Anne Coulter: did not serve.
... How's that working for ya?