Sunday, November 30, 2003
Friday, November 28, 2003
Heritage of HipnessI have been cool, and I have been not. I do not think Mr. Doug Feith, under-something for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was ever that cool. Case in point, a speech by Mr. Feith at the Heritage Foundation, a bunch of stuck-up rich punks who buy academics, where he actually says that the NeoCon movement isn't, well, let him actually utter the words...[from para 4]
The realignment of US politics that joined William Buckley with Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz that bound together supporters of Barry Goldwater with supporters of Scoop Jackson and Hubert Humphrey has helped change our country and the world. At home, it made the conservative slice of the political spectrum a lively place, intellectually scintillating, creative, ambitious to transform government, attractive to young people, and decidedly non-stodgy.You were young and foolish then, Doug. You are old and foolish now. And you also express some of the worst of what Reagan did to conservatism. The fight was never between Capitalism & Salesmanship vs Communism & State planning. The fight was always be between Republicanism(a la Montesquieu/Madison) and Tyranny. But to say that Republicans are always right, and Tyrants always wrong, well, that is foolish, also, for it blinds us to our mistakes, which prevents us from pulling our tail from the fire! Mr. Feith then tries to tie in numerous quotes of Presidents Reagan and one from G. Bush
- Reagan on elections
- damning Republics, not anti-capitalists
- nice, but I think I remember the Reagan era, and that's empty rhetoric
- There are so many millions of ways to go about getting people what wonderful thinks you think they might deserve without bombing them.
Thursday, November 27, 2003
Yet Another Cool Retired Government voicePerson, 40+ years of public service, some as ambassador to South Korea, received top CIA award.
When (George W.) Bush came into office, he had a five-man hate list ... These were men he wanted nothing to do with, men he would rather blow out of the water than negotiate with.... [Included on the list were ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Il, among others.] Bush and his advisers were more interested in preempting against these men and their countries than negotiating with them[.]Thanks to Daily War News for the link.
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Immediacy in MediaFirst there was Accuracy in Media, A.I.M., striking out to counter liberal bias in the 1950s media, then there was Fairness and Accureacy in Reporting, F.A.I.R., to counter conservative bias in the 1990s-present media. Now there are other issues to consider. Truth, or lies, barring any Aussie OG Handtalk (see blue text), or need link to Mughal(?) Khyber-Capital Nighttime Communications system(like 1-if-by-land,2-if-by-sea, but from tower-to-tower, for 1,000 miles), could only spread in mid-late 18th century America at a certain rate, and the truth could get behind anything before it went to far (if the populace was/is awake). The immediacy of current media, with a huge chunk of the world constantly available for LIVE exclusive coverage, is a different sort of threat, and it should be considered as such until such time as a reasonable solution is drafted.
On the HillThis reminds me so much of the NFL/Britney/Coors/AOL/Pepsi puke-a-thon... the first commercial explotation of women wearing pants LESS THAN THREE INCHES HIGH? Why, the guy who is going to bring "honor and dignity" back to the White House. (picture will get here eventually). Now they stretch time like they are the masters of time itself. Link thanks to Matthew Yglesias.
Worth reading, if you are behind on your Middle Eastern historyThis story by Robert Fisk (@ Hi! Pakistan) covers a lot of ground. Please read it if you are at all rusty on your Middle Eastern history of the last 100 years. To ignore the trillions of dollars of oil money in the development of the politics of the Middle East is the Conservative blindness. To recognize that 99.99% of the people involved in the current regimes are locals, is a Liberal one. Carter, or the media in interpreting him, could not convey the relevance of the OPEC oil-price fights.
More Happenings in The IraqThis is just wrong. How would you feel if your 9 and 10 year old little girls were being frisked at your local schools by machine-gun toting members of the armed forces? You wouldn't approve. (Thanks to April Follies and someone from Atrios's comments section). Josh M. Marshall is right to point this (@ Fox) out. One of the Muslim Chaplains of the US Army originally accused of spying for Al-Qaeda(!!) is now charged with having some pornography on his computer and having an adulterous affair with a woman in Florida and (another?) in Cuba. In other words, the original spying claims look to be either 1) dropped, or 2) bogus in the first place.
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Happenings in IraqDemocracy: Leaning off table Peace: On table Looks like eventually we might just be guarding the pipeline. Ladies and Gentleman, enjoy your pall. So, the NE region, around the eastern Kurdish area city Kirkuk (the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), less likely to cause trouble with Turkey, more links to Iran(?)) we are withdrawing from police stations to a single central location. Makes sense to me. Cheers to the PUK. (Although it is just happening because Talabani of the PUK is the current (month-long) Iraqi Governing Council President? need non-fascist link Chalabi is becoming a more important part of the current scam in The Iraq. Now he is assuring Iraqis the US soldiers will only stay if the Iraqi government invites them. Doesn't it scare any of you that this wretch is an oil company puppet and now a handmaiden to GOP corporate interests? He hasn't even been in the country for 45 years. Whatever tips Iraq this way or that, it might be soon, it might be in a long, long time.
EconoDoltThe Econopundit, in the first article I ever read by him, offers up this inane nugget
Yet I think it's important to remember the whole "porkiness" of pork vanishes after first-round spending. By objective standards everyone would agree that, say, a quarter million dollars homeland security spent upgrading some local Hooter's restaurant is corrupt. But all the profits, rents, and salaries generated by this spending are spent and taxed exactly like all other dollars in the economy. You ignore this principle at your own peril.[emphasis in original]in his peice @ Econopundit. EconoPundit is pretending the only difference between the market and the criminal markets is the first payment. Pimps and junkies spend their money (and pay their taxes) excactly like Bill Gates and I, uh huh. I'd be surprised if we weren't all in the same market for dinner tonight (ugh!) Although I suppose, at the tail end of the article, it is more of an afterthought... let me pull out something earlier, ah, here we are
So what would have been the economic outcome? First, we'd have seen a slightly milder recession but a dramatically slower recovery.[emphasis in original]Hear that? If we'd delayed a regressive tax cut the longest recession recovery in post-WWII history would have been longer! Wooh! Welcome to wacky land.
Sunday, November 23, 2003
My First(?) Pro-Bush PostThe Bush said the media was being put through a "filter." Something is happening that is preventing the "good news" from getting out of The Iraq. The media never reports school board, community level events, and, generally, even city-wide events are rarely reported in distant places. "School Gets Paint Job" doesn't make it into the national news. If there are no WMD, and there is no Al-Qaeda link, then the violent deaths of American soldiers are signicificantly tragic, rather than just "to be expected." :|
The Leaked Feith Memo MemoDoug Feith was psyched for a war in Iraq. The neo-Straussians, the Likudniks, the defense contractors, the oil barons, and the President himself, who nearly lost his father, were pulling for him. The 107
- Prague-Atta, or, Pragatta
- We can now read about four meetings between Mohammed Atta, a 9/11 hijacker, and a Mr. Al-Ani from Iraqi Intelligence Services(IIS). Trawling our memories might unearth that we had heard of one, maybe two such meetings before. Two or three more must be good for the case, right?In fact, quite the opposite. These two "new" claims had been part of the raw intelligence that was generally discredited before the war by the CIA. This new "intelligence" is what our CIA thought was worse than the intelligence we heard before.
Friday, November 21, 2003
H.R. 1, the Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act of 2003
- With the Bill Itself
- Division A
- Title I
- Title II
- Section 200
- The assumption in (3) is that competition between a Federal Program (insurer of last resort) and Private Programs will "promote greater efficiency and responsiveness to medicare beneficiaries" is flawed for reasons.
- They will be competing for different clients, based on wealth & incomeWhen it really counts a patient doesn't need better service from their insurer, they need a doctor right away. There is no time elasticity of demand in emergency cases for Insured Clients to "shop-around" and find the best Insurer who won't let them down at a critical juncture
- Division B
- Title XII
- Section 1202
- This Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, to make payments to your prescription drug plan an itemized deduction. This helps, in the majority, only those who itemize, who are "this section" of the ownership curve.The exemption doubles from 2004-2009, with a very low inflation picture. This pushes a lot of the cost of this tax off into the future.
Thursday, November 20, 2003
I am concernedThe House and Senate have approved a measure, attached(in what Amendment?) to the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, HR 2417 (a link to Thomas), under Subtitle E, Section 354, which changes the people who must, without warrant, respond to FBI requests for information, are the same companies as defined under Title 31, Subtitle IV, Chapter 53, Subchapter II (@ Cornell University), any corporation involved in a financial business, in businesses useful to criminals (casinons, pawn brokers, travel agencies, car dealers).(Josh: Why not Real Estate?) In other words, anyone who has to keep records of their transaction, by order of the Government, will now be forced to hand those papers over on request, no grand jury or judge required. (Josh: Do they at least have to log their requests with some central body?) Why I am concerned is that in this article (@ The New York Times), the best quote against it used is "'I'm concerned about this,' Mr. Durbin said in an interview. 'The idea of expanding the powers of government gives everyone pause except the Republican leadership.'" Is that really the most forceful argument the Democrats had, or was the NY Times just sketchy in their appraisal of happenings on the Hill?
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
The Crazies over at HooverGosh, they must think we are completly dumb at the Hoover Institute over at Stanford University. A Swiss Canton (1 of 23, or 26, in Switzerland) has announced it is going to make a "degressive" system. In other words, that tax rates will go down as income goes up. They seem to only praise the system as "...a true incentive-based tax system—the larger one's income, the lower one's marginal rate." Except, as they note, the rate rises for all income up to eight hundred thousands Swiss Franc, currently trading around 72 cents on the dollar... meaning that the system becomes an "incentive" based system only for people earning more than five-hundred and sixty thousand US! The article acknowledges it might be about attracing rich people... which makes them Defectors in the Prisoner's Dilemma of tax schemes.
Monday, November 17, 2003
Finally, someone else says itClark looks right, but I'll have to differ on his final statement quoted. Fred Hiatt looks good, too. Clark is right, we do need to catch Saddam Hussein as priority number 1 in Iraq. "Saddam is Iraq, Iraq is Saddam" is part of their "state cult." The longer Saddam stays free the longer that any sheetbeard colonel can give an order that someone might think is coming from the Most powerful ruler in the World, Saddam! This July 1 business is bad. We must find Saddam before then. The most obvious answer is that we are not trying hard to find him, or, we are trying to capture more than just him in a big dustpan operation. Are we sure his food stocks in his hidey hole won't last two years? Saddam is Iraq, his 3rd Most Senior Chief of Police is not Iraq. Uday and Qusay are gone (right?). Lifting Saddam out now is like taking a mystical battery from the violent resistance in Iraq.
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
A unique voice re:IraqScott Ritter, twelve years in the U.S. Marine Corps, seven years as an Inspector with UNSCOM, author (with William Rivers Pitt) of "War in Iraq: What Team Bush Don't Want You To Know." I don't know anything in the book that has proved to be false, but he over-estimated US casualties... thought there might be as many as 1,000 in the initial "capture" phase. Here he is, analyzing the post war resistance.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Some Historical Notes on Rupert Murdoch, our modern Hearst, Part IIUnauthorized reproductions of "A Secret Country" by John Pilger, Australia's Chomsky, Vintage Press, 1992 On why no one should trust Rupert Murdoch, especially not a politician.
In July 1980 the New York State Democratic primary was crucial for Jimmy Carter. His main opponent, Senator Edward Kennedy, was an acknowledged supporter of the Israeli cause, while Carter's quest for de'tente between Israel and Egypt cast him in many Jewish eyes as pro-Arab. Murdoch's New York Post had found a woman who agreed to speak about an affair with Kennedy. At the same time, with the aid of public relations men retained by Murdoch, a meeting with President Carter at the White House was arranged for February 19, 1980. The same morning Murdoch met the Chairman of the Export-Import Bank (Eximbank), John Moore, an old friend and political supporter of Carter. The subject was the sale of Boeing aircraft to Ansett, the Australian airline owned by Murdoch and Sir Peter Abeles. Murdoch demanded a loan of 656 million $US at 8 per cent interest. On February 22 Murdoch's Post published an editorial headed, THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARIES: THE POST ENDORSES CARTER. An Eximbank loan of such size usually took three weeks to develop; and the bank's current interest rate was well above 8 per cent, rising to 13 per cent in March. Murdoch reduced the loan figure to $US290 million and announced that the deal had been settled at 8 per cent. US Treasury officials expressed their concern; the New York Times published a story about the low interest rate, the lunch with Carter on the same day as the bank meeting, the Post's endorsement of Carter and Moore's political background. The US Senate committee on banking called for the documents and Murdoch testified before a hearing. The White House lunch, he said, was unconnected with the Boeing sale. The committee reported that the Ansett loan had been handled 'sloppily' and that lending rates several points below cost amounted to an extraordinary subsidy of Rupert Murdoch's business fortunes. But the loan went ahead. Later that year Murdoch switched allegiance to Ronald Reagan...
Some Historical Notes on Rupert Murdoch, our modern HearstUnauthorized reproductions of "A Secret Country" by John Pilger, Australia's Chomsky, Vintage Press, 1992 [Josh: Quoted from an Australian Senator, weeks after a secret meeting between Labor Minister Bob Hawke (look to his history as a pre-cursor of Clinton and Blair) and Rupert Murdoch]
Is this country to continue to be run with Governments being made and broken, and men being made and broken, by snide, slick innuendoes of a lying, perjuring pimp, Rupert Murdoch?
More Bush-Nazi ConnectionsThe story so far... Prescott Bush was in bed with the Nazis until 1942. Note: Being anti-Communist was common sense in certain parts of the 1930s. I mean, they weren't going to increase your profits, were they? Business people in America supported the Nazis, which is reasonably fair, considering the Soviets were against Republicanism. Now, it turns out Bush's Grandfather, and Brown Brothers, Harriman wer in bed with the Nazis until the 1950s!
Monday, November 10, 2003
Democracy Decays Before Our Eyes, Few Say "Peep."The Democratic Primaries, this year, will have 9 candidates on the ballot. This makes it the largest ballot in living memory. Three Republican States, and one DLC State, have decided to drop their primaries altogether! One RNC spokesperson, said "There's no reason to spend the money when it isn't necessary." I am floored. Choosing a decent Democrat isn't necessary? Or do you mean someone just doesn't want to trust the "people" with the ability to smell a rat anymore? Doesn't the General Election cost more? The Constitution doesn't require them, you know... I'm greif-stricken. Yahoo! News has the story and Buzzflash got me the link. Another view, where Gov Locke (D-WA) is also dismissing them, from the Houston Chronicle. Complicated Choice? Get the People out of the way! (Well, hmm, can't say as I totally blame them, the way you all have been acting lately.)
Sunday, November 09, 2003
Eat Animals to Save ThemThis is just too surreal... "It's a very dangerous precedent to decide that wildlife exploitation is in the best interest of wildlife" Can we get a big "Duh?" Where is the $$$ on this issue?
Who OKed This?For the exact same federal grant or loan program, for schools that cost the exact same amount, Ive League schools and other prestige Universities, get more dollars of grant aid. It's freaking absurd! The article notes that at least a couple Ivy Leaguers have close to 10 billion (10,000,000,000) dollar endowments.
USA Patriot Act, abusedAt one point, conservative ooze Tom DeLay (R-Tejas) used the Dept of Homeland Security to track down wayward Legislators.Now, Las Vegas cops are using the Patriot Act to prosecute Strip Club owners."Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism"Strip Clubs are probably all bad, but can anyone say terrorist? Uniting and Strengthening America by Patently Abusing Trust, Responsibility, Integrity, Order and Truth
Aznar... Ker-PlunkI did some research into this already. None of the "democratically" elected leaders really are going to be re-elected after this. Iceland's PM has already lost. Latvia's ruling coalition lasted until the day after the election, when one hard right group dropped (Latvia's election was really more a referendum on EU membership). Uzbekistan's Karimov, well, he is about as Republican as Saddam was (95% of the vote, often enough, he's the former Soviet Commissar for the Uzbekis). Now Jose Maria Aznar is not even going to run again. For the record, Spain is a Constitutional Monarchy whose head of State, King Juan Carlos, was hand-picked by Franco in 1978. Aznar, as Prime Minister, is elected to that post by the Parliament, not directly by the people.
Good Tax CutsThe Republicans are trying to bankrupt America. They have two ways to do this. One is to massively increase spending. After 3 years in the White House, with both Democratic and Republican led Congresses, Clinton's Budget had expanded 3.5%. After the same time, with both Democratic and Republican led Congresses, Bush's budget has expanded 20 (or is it 15.8%?) The second way is tax cuts, Government receipts from taxes have dropped precipitously over the last few years. This, of course, means massive deficits. Would Bush even want to be President in the world he has created? I don't think so. The next President will have to deal with a budget deficit that is the worst in history. With a deficit that is the worst in history, and a FOX news channel which will say he is trying to destroy America by repealing some of the GOP's pro-wealthy, pro-budgetbusting tax cuts. FASCISTS!
An Imaginary ConversationO'Reilly: Healing one person here, helping another person there, what are you really accomplishing? MysteryGuest: It is more important for people to hear what I have to say than to take note of what I do. O'Reilly: Isn't that what liberals always do? Talk, talk, talk? Sounds like a lot of hot air to me... Let me ask you a question. George Bush's tax cuts have put money, real money, in the pockets of millions of Americans, what have you done that can compare with that? MysteryGuest: Render unto Caesar... O'Reilly: Ah ha! You seem to a firm supporter of taxation. Ladies and Gentleman... hasn't the government taken enough from you already? MysteryGuest: I believe the poor... O'Reilly: The poor? Caring after the poor is a black hole, Mr. Nazarene. there's no end to it! When will you liberals ever learn?
Saturday, November 08, 2003
Friday, November 07, 2003
Thursday, November 06, 2003
Another Pro-Criminal Adminstration ActBush had already signed E.O. 13303, but now they decided that wasn't enough, and they needed to stretch more to make sure no one is ever caught for the corruption going on today in Iraq. The Senate Appropriations Committee had unanimously approved something, but Republicans, most likely at the behest of the White House decided to remove the anti-profiteering clause. See, we can't have CEOs like Ken Lay go to jail for crimes, it would be against Capitalism!
The Czar of America"The best way to get the news is from objective sources," President George Walker Bush said, "And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff," on a recent Fox News Sunday appearance. The people on Bush's staff are rational people, and they want to keep their jobs. One gets what one inspects, not what one expects
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Bush Flubs Transportation SecurityI guess most of you don't pay attention to US Electoral Politics, but if you are President, and you say something will be done after the next election cycle, the rest of us should be damn sure you have very little intention of doing anything now and full intention of, if possible, leaving it to the next guy. Kinda like leaving the trash for the morning shift to take out. TSA = Transportation Safety Adminstration The relevant quote, from Page 2
Our recent work on passenger screening found that little testing or other data exist that measures the performance of the screeners in detecting threat objects. However, TSA is taking steps to collect data on the effectiveness of its security initiatives, including developing a 5-year performance plan detailing numerous performance measures, as well as implementing several efforts to collect performance data
Monday, November 03, 2003
US Press ignores storyUpdate: They are finally running this story in about 15 papers, all written exactly the same. Very, pro-Israel spin in all American papers, very different than any except the Pakistani ones. The way different countries spin the same story can be WILD! This poll, done of 500 people in all 15 EU countries, puts Israel as the #1 threat to world peace, followed by the US, tied with Iran and North Korea. At Middle East News, they tenderly lay off mentioning that the United States came in 2nd. In the Netherlands, at Expatica, they harsh on the US and Israel pretty hard, but they also bring up that the Italians were findest to Israel (close to 50/50) and that less-educated people tended to favor Israel (a little nationalism, I suspect). Over at EU Business News, it's all about Israeli government shock, and EU minister distancing. This article mentions that "countries" such as Palestine and Somalia weren't listed (p.s. if you think Palestine would have beaten Israel in the EU, you just don't get it yet). I can't tell which country InfoShop News is from, but they have this tizzy of a quote, in an otherwise unremarkable peice "Israeli Ministers and spokesman have also been at pains recently to insist that a definition of modern 'anti-semitism' should include criticism of the way the state of Israel chooses to protect itself[.]" Strangely, American left-wing site Common Dreams skips the anti-US message central to the poll, also. Two Pakistani papers just quote Israeli and American Jewish groups. How odd. I guess that is part of payback for not trouncing them during the War on Terror. Ah, there seems to be a discrepancy. The Guardian's published report lists the US tied for second, while France's Le Monde puts the US at 6th. (UPDATE: Guardian was right). Well, whatever... By the way, NO US PAPERS HAVE PICKED UP ON THIS SO FAR!
What I've learned about Joe PulitzerI was reading a book called "Lives of the Press Barons" or something like that, and I learned that Joe Pulitzer was really great, except for the Spanish-American War thing. Check out this list of Presidential Candidates... then look doubly closely. Pulitzer is basically accusing Hanna of being President, instead of McKinley.
pro-Greeley, pro-Cleveland, anti-Blaine, anti-Hanna, anti-RooseveltWell, Joe, those are my picks, too. Congratz! P.S. That's the Butcher Roosevelt, not FDR.