Friday, September 30, 2005
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Chief Justice JG Roberts, JrAfter two years on the Federal Bench, JG Roberts, Jr has been appointed Chief Justice of the United States. President GW Bush is looking at candidates now for the other opening on the Bench. A fourteen year old is expected, but the nomination will be delayed until "Joey" can attend a series of AEI lectures on regulation, and that his Bible Summer Camp Honors Graduation Certificate can be confirmed.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Been Busy, SorryPretty much since I started this blog, I've been free to work on it at my leisure, and it showed. Has all that changed? Sigh.
- Jack Abramoff is linked to a gangland killing, which he basically had information about for three years but kept quiet until a federal probe on a different, but related matter pointed at him? DeLay may have stepped down to avoid more coverage on this issue. Or for tangentially related reasons.
- Religion linked to increase crime and imprudent sexual behavior. From the Times of London. Killer quote "In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies."
- I wrote a post on paper, but I bet someone, who shall remain nameless, threw it away. Hey, I don't recognize that, must be garbage!
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Marketing/PR For Republicans, Inside Scoop!Yesterday, Marvin Olasky, college-Communist now Born-Again-Christian and Republican, author of "Compassionate Conservatism"(2000, Foreword by GW Bush) posted an article on his blog, linking to the sad Jonah Goldberg, who was attacking Compassionate Conservatism. I felt bad for Mr Olasky, who I see as somewhat hapless. I told him he ought defend himself, in the comments. But now all is clear. Senator Santorum, who recently graced the cover Olasky's "World" magazine, wrote an article that says the new title should be Social Justice Conservatism. Now, for those of you who actually puked on your keyboards, I'd like to apologize, but I just write the news, I don't make this shit up. I commented, on the Olasky blog, that I understood the strategy. Day One, say that CC is dead. Day Two, declare the new birth of SJC, pushed by the veritable poster-boy for dumb-religious-rightiness. I also told Mr Olasky I'd be making people aware. Obviously, social justice means MASSIVE tax cuts for the rich. Obviously, social justice means WAR WITHOUT END, elective wars, wars of choice. These people are evil.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Alpha Testing ProgressThanks to EAC for continuing alpha testing. I might be able to finish by tomorrow, but won't have the "right" time for beta-testing until, well, next weekend? I've got lots of commitments early in the week (including a Planning Board meeting) but maybe next Sunday would be perfect. The beta testers don't even know yet! I doubt any of them are my blog readers, though. You'll need to be able to use IRC, Internet Relay Chat.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Abramoff Scandal Spreads, Administration Official ArrestedYou've probably heard already. Charge? "Lying and obstructing a criminal investigation into Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dealings with the federal government," according to Federal agents of unknown agency." More from the American Progress Action Fund's Progress Report, which links to Pogoblog which adds
While working at GSA, the Department of Justice Press Release states, "he allegedly aided a Washington D.C. lobbyist in the lobbyist's attempts to acquire GSA-controlled property in and around Washington, D.C. In August 2002, this lobbyist [likely Jack Abramoff:Pogo] allegedly took Safavian and others on a golf trip to Scotland.I had been reading Democracy for New Hampshire which linked to Music for America?.
"The false statement and obstruction of the investigation charges relate to Safavian's statements to a GSA ethics officer and the GSA-OIG that the lobbyist had no business with GSA prior to the August 2002 golf trip."
Monday, September 19, 2005
Stupid ABCDetroit Mayor points out suburban schools are doing more of certain types of drugs, and white power ABC lends credence to a comparison with comments, three decades ago, when a Detroit Mayor told criminals to leave Detroit and head out to the suburbs. Fuck ABC.
Hatch Butchers Montesquieu, HamiltonSenator O Hatch (R-UT) brought up Montesquieu in his opening statement of the four-day Roberts hearings, and I instantly knew he'd butchered the ideas, smeared the guts over himself, and given a little barbarian's dance, but I forgot to blog about it. I've also found some aged dupe/fool lawyer, J Presser, who advocates the same understanding. I don't know whether these chimpanzees simply can't understand the US Constitution, or simply tried and failed to understand the Spirit of Laws and the Federalist Papers, but the results are bound to offend. And to think. this "Republican" Party is often thought to be the standard bearer for the traditional American ideology! No, that they twist and bend for their simple-minded aims.
Quoting the philosopher Montesquieu, Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist, number 78, that, quote, There is no liberty if the power of judging be not separated from the le gislative and executive powers, unquote. Well, times have changed. Today, some see the separation of powers not as a condition for liberty but as an obstacle to their own politi cal agenda.It is hard to see how much more Classicist crap the foolish Hatch could manage to throw up in the faces of the audience, but neither his fellow Senators nor the public has stepped up repudiate this utter bullshit by Hatch, and as I am a huge fan of Montesquieu's political philosophy, I take it upon myself. I will prove, through various means, that Hatch is full of shit and is retarded, or speaks of what he knows not, specifically as it relates to the US Constitution. What does it mean to have the legislature be the same as the power of the judiciary? It would mean, in part, as was in the case in the United Kingdom before 1870 and as expressly prohibited in the US Constitution, Bills of Attainder, defined by Wikipedia thusly: "A bill of attainder (or act of attainder) was an act of legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime, and punishing them, without benefit of a trial.". By vote in Parliament, a man could be convicted. People say "without trial" but they don't realize that the debate over the passage of the bill amounts to a trial by legislature. Not only does the Constitution expresssly prohibit the States (Art I, Sec 10) and the Congress (Art I, Sec 9) from passing such laws, there is no threat to that system today. Now let's see just how wrong this "Senator" is. First, is the separation absolute? I think Senator Hatch should recall that he himself served in the US Senate during the trial of President WJ Clinton. So, no, where provided for in the Constitution, the Congress can serve a judicial function. Second, checks and balances. The American system gives no free rein to any branch of government. The Senate's confirmation procss is a check on the Executive, who otherwise could come to near tyranny by placing whomsoever he desires (cronies, flunkies, sixteen year old children) on the bench. It is expressly within the intent and words of the Constitution for the US Senate to consent, by the usual process, a vote, to any nominee of the Presidents. As others have elsewhere pointed out, even President G Washington was stymied in his attempts to place the extremely experienced jurist J Rutledge in the Chief Justice's seat, so let us not pretend that the President deserves some deference. If some sycophant wants to say that GW Bush deserves more deference than G Washington, let them go off into the woods and wail to their hearts content. Third, the bloody irony. How else might the legislative and judiciary become intermingled? Mandatory minimums take away from the Judge almost all power to be merciful where extenuating circumstances suggest it (although it did _nothing_ to put John Ashcroft's nephew in jail for 40 pot plants). Now, to be fair to Herr Hatch, Montesquieu writes of this Book VI Chapter 3 of the Spirit of Laws.
The nearer a government approaches towards a republic, the more the manner of judgeing becomes settled and fixed; hence it was a fault in the Republic of Sparta for the Ephori to pass such arbitrary judgements without having any laws to direct them.However, when the penalties for an ounce of cocaine (an admittedly bad drug) are greater than the penalties for firing a missile into a building, as is the case in Florida, it is obvious that legislatures don't always get it right. We can only hope that the citizens of Utah put forward someone without this sickening interest in perverting history for partisan gain.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Every DayEvery single day, without any new factual evidence, the world news has a top story on Iran and nuclear power/weapons. I'll start keeping an archive of Google world-news front page every day, you'll be sure to see Iran there, strictly in relation to nukes (OK, or maybe to rehash the seemingly bogus assertion that the President, Ahmadenijad, was a 1979 hostage taker). Luckily not even stupid right-wingers actually believe that this is the number one issue for the next ten years; ten years being the most recent NIE timeframe for Iran producing one bomb. Considering that major facilities have been razed to the ground, I suspect Iran has decided to shut down any weapons-related programs (i.e. broad based research into the entire fuel cycle) until further notice.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
G GallowayI really don't know what to make, or how much to make, of the money allegations surrounding the charity run by Respect-ex-Labour Bethnal Green and Bow Member of Parliament G Galloway, but I had no idea he was adamantly pro-life and adamantly anti-euthenasia, and I didn't know he'd effectively supported the unrealized, religious death sentence on Salman Rushdie. G Palast is sure he doesn't want more of it. Although C Hitchens was snivelling and pathetic in his debate with G Galloway debate, and G Galloway was certainly the speaker with a firmer grasp on reality, he was hardly impeccable.
Interview Hunt! America's Poorest LibertarianWho is America's poorest libertarian? Remain Calm Trans-Galactic Headquarters wants to know. We're planning on doing an in-depth interview series on this most fascinating individual.
The right wing's girdle is on too tight for the last couple days. We all know the right never told any jokes at President WJ Clinton's expense, so there was no justification for anyone yukking it up just because President GW Bush "think[s]" he "may" need to go potty, and wonders if it is "possible[.]"
NOTICE: This image has been rotated and the contrast has been changed so you can read the note. It wasn't faked in the first place. I think some people resent GW Bush, and are using petty techniques to get back at him, because that's all we, I mean, they have.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Big Day For Remain CalmWe've had bigger days in terms of total hits, but yesterday we received hits from the computers of Halliburton, Anheuser-Busch, General Motors and USCourts.gov. Is corporate America coming around? Not a bloody chance. I guess I hit a nerve. Did anyone catch the hearing this morning on the DoD employee who was demoted after blowing the whistle on scumbag Halliburton contracting practices? Byron Dorgan chaired. The witnesses weren't ideal, but they had great resumes.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Psycho F*ckHead Michael Ledeen, At It AgainFrom the craptacular NRO Corner (ewwy).
RE: AL QAEDA & WMDS IN IRAQ [Michael Ledeen]Let's pretend we read the Corner like a bunch of innocent suckers yearning to bomb freely. What did we learn? Al-Qaeda used chemical weapons in Iraq. Their origins or make-up? No word on that. Now, when most people think of chemical weapons, they don't think of a vat of cleaning fluid with a bomb in it. Ledeen suggests that Al-Qaeda in America will do the same to us! He said "many buildings were booby-trapped with ... 'dirty chemical bombs'" He says the soldiers choked. Per usual, we find only the most tangential connection to reality. 1. Salt is a chemical, as are all household cleaners. 2. A "dirty bomb" is the most primitive type of explosive. 3. It was obviously not from Saddam's era, as the chemicals were mostly harmless. 4. There is no report of choking. 5. It was only one building. Leave it to bloodthirsty haters to pump up the hysteria! Let's look at what the Colonel actually said rather than these f*ckwits.
ANDY: It seems AQ actually did deploy chemical weapons in Tal Afar. According to a long briefing from the commander in that region (sorry, I don’t have it in front of me, but Bill Roggio posted a link to it), many buildings were booby-trapped with what he described as "dirty chemical bombs," that is, explosives wrapped in chemicals…and he said that there were cases where Iraqi and American soldiers entered buildings and started choking.
I expect that when AQ launches its next attack on the United States, they will use similar devices. Those are the most likely dirty bombs, don’t you think? Posted at 02:42 PM
In one of these buildings the enemy had big barrels of chemicals that had explosives implanted in the chemicals, wires running around, and the whole house was rigged for demolition.If it was VX, or Sarin, or anything very toxic, they certainly wouldn't have demolished the building "without a hazard to the people." What was it? Conveniently, the Colonel doesn't say. Was it terrorists or insurgents? It isn't entirely clear. Other buildings were rigged for destruction, but only in one did some fairly harmless chemicals get involved. How do we know they were harmless, because the Colonel says they were. Were the manuals found near the bomb, is there any real connection at all between the two? He doesn't say. Now try reading Michael Ledeen's war-mongering f*ckheaded claptrap of insane hatred and evil again. He should be drummed the f*ck out of the public square as an irresponsible hack and a threat to the safety of the United States. Or, at least, make me his editor!
We stopped all of our operations. We were actually pursuing a particular enemy, but this was more important. We evacuated the civilians from the area and then we demolished that building without a hazard to the people.
We found some manuals that describe how they could make sort of these kind of chemical dirty bombs and so forth.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
JG Roberts HearingsSenator Coburn is speaking? He's a nut job. He says he a built in lie detector test, his physician's skill of watching "body language." I've always felt that Senator Coburn was one of the loonier Senators. With such a great built-in lie detector (I'll need the transcript, but he asserts that JG Roberts didn't lie) he should be in an intelligence agency or routinely used around the country as a replacement for the beatable electronic lie detectors. I betcha Senator Coburn can tell a lot about a guy with long hair, or a woman with short hair, too (both violations of the the Bible, but only if you include the forged Titus and II Timothy. Do you know anti-misogynist Christians? Get them to learn about the likelihood (high!) that Titus and I and II Timothy (currently listed as Epistles of Paul) are forgeries. These letters are (among?) the most misogynist, and they were probably not written by Paul. It doesn't make the Bible gender-neutral (not that I believe in pure gender neutrality) but it helps by removing some of the worst New Testament misogyny. Here is a website going all over trying to prove they _aren't_ forgeries. From New Advent. One of the main strikes I've seen had to do with word usage in all. Doing it mathematically seemed to show that the authors was not Paul. I don't know where that is online, but here is one overall discussion on the authorship of the epistles which covers both liberal and conservative positions.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Causes of Death Tolls Yield RationalesThe difference between death tolls for September 11th, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina. A great natural disaster, such as the Earthquakes and Fires in San Francisco in 1906, would likely have an official death toll lowballed, while a terrorist or state-enemy strike would likely have it exaggerated. Bad leaders will incite the citizens to hate the enemy. Some people say that terms like "haj" (for an Iraqi) and "gook" (for a Viet Namese) are part of racism. In the US Civil War, a war not fought for race or even religious differences, epithets for the enemy existed. It is enemyism (my term). One can't fight back against a storm. There is no victory over a hurricane or blizzard. At best, lives will be spared, but there will always be the need to rebuild, and "our side" can never "win." Not so with al-Qaeda or the Nazis. Part of the difficulty with al-Qaeda is that the government, in part, chose wisely to focus the definition of, and hate for, al-Qaeda narrowly. Things were simpler when it was a nation, or even a party abbreviation (Nazis = NDSAP). There is no convenient shorthand for al-Qaeda that doesn't exclude other chosen enemies of the United States like Hamas or Hezbollah. What are they? If America is a global superpower, the de facto hegemon, then they are rebels. Of course many members of the French Resistance to the Vichy government would have accepted suicide missions. Many did. And many prayed to their god as they went.
President GW Bush to Pay Katrina Cleanup Costs HimselfAnd to serve prison time for each of the 500 to 10,000 deaths. If I "take responsibility" for breaking something, or for hundreds to thousands of deaths, I'd expect to pay restitution, and do some time. Reuter's Reports President "Takes Responsibility". "I take responsibility" the President said. Press ignores what it might mean to take responsiblity, and vacuously reports the comment.
Pre-Emptive Nukes, Lying, and a Song
- As part of the defense contractor pleasing "let's look insane" strategy that many asshats think won the Cold War, the Pentagon is working on plans to pre-emptively nuke terrorists. I suspect this is part of the anti-Iran, anti-Syria strategy (unless you think we'd nuke Florida for its terrorists).
- Media Matters has a discussion of David Brooks admission that the Bush administration had planned to lie in our faces from "day one" in order to avoid admitting any mistakes. Hence the sense many of us had that they pretended to infallibility.
Jesus is going t'make the budget come out alright Jesus is going t'make Iraq airtight Jesus is going t'make it all good So get off Bush's back you damn Democrats
No one has actually asked, but...Someone might wonder, reading my impeachment suggestions above, "Can one impeach the Speaker of the House?" What I intend is that we make the following clear "Take the Presidency and impeachment proceedings against you will commence immediately." There's no shorthand way to say that in the limited space I have above, so I have adopted a convenient shorthand.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Mainstream JournalismWHO: President of the United States, George Walker Bush
WHAT: Is a goober.
WHEN: Now, been that way for years.
WHERE: Anywhere he goes.
WHY: He's not that bright, surrounded mostly by toadies, svengalis and true-believers.
Dear Press Corps,
That wasn't so hard, was it?
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Does Anyone Think This is Real?It's an allegation about FEMA detention centers and some level of Church involvement. Link was from Patriot Boy.
UPDATE: King of Zembla has lots of links about many camps, including this from UnknownNews about Camp Williams in Utah. I wouldn't believe every word (consider how great the background checks in the Florida voter purge were) but its nasty. Thanks FEMA!
How to Get Out of IraqWe assert that the current, largely elected government of Iraq is, in fact, the legitimate authority in Iraq. If that is the case, then if they ask us to go, we must go. We must ask them to ask our troops to withdraw. We must then explain, humbly, that the wishes of a democratically elected government of a sovereign nation must be respected when it comes to their own territory. Does the day we stop paying troops in Iraq, the defense contractors in Iraq, mean the end of the US commitment to Iraq? We must defend Iraq from any foreign army for a while, after all, we disbanded their military. We must pay for training the Iraqis wish to receive, overseas, in both public administration and civil policing. We must pay for lots of stuff in Iraq that we have broken. Building new ministries, regional legislative, executive and judicial facilities, the foundation of any government, must be brought up to a certain standard, likely resulting in completely new construction in those locations.
C-SPAN and Anti-IranC-SPAN is hosting another anti-Iran nutjob, who asserts all sorts of craptastic stupidity, he's a lawyer. But I can't even find out who he is, because C-SPAN has an incorrect or fake schedule, and I don't have video. This guy, and his whole audience, is so insane it disturbs me.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Hanson, Our Strange Foreign PolicyIf you think I'm up to it, I'll take on Brooks. OUR FOREIGN POLCICY: Totalitarism Zen Buddhism with a Dirty Harry complex.
|Someday historians will appreciate the fact that America's foreign policy changed in 2001.||For all the national angst over Afghanistan and Iraq, historians will come to appreciate that sometime after 2001 the United States embarked on a radically different, much riskier, and ultimately more humane foreign policy -- one of both pulling in our horns while at the same time promoting risky democratic reform in targeted areas.|
|Nobody seems to like it.||Such a complex and hard-to-define change explains why conservative realists are chagrined by its Wilsonian traits, even as leftist isolationists are equally furious that it is imperial. Mainstream out-of-power Democrats don't like what we are doing because of George Bush, while traditional Republicans stay the course mostly because it is now the party line.|
|But those who don't like it simply haven't looked at the results in detail.||But examine the policies of the last four years in some detail and the current charges about empire, hegemony, imperialism, and all the other common invective increasingly make little sense.|
|I am going to mix you up by mentioning free trade with China (which happened before Bush), and I am going to lead you down the garden path and not mention the CEOs main reason was for cheap Chinese labor.||The United States, at some risk to its own economy, has essentially opened its entire market to the Chinese -- not just to force global competitiveness within its own industries, or even to flood us with cheap goods, but also to bring the quasi-Communist giant back into the world community.|
|Now I am going to lie to you about the actions of Democrat leaders, calling them China bashers. Perhaps Sherrod Brown has been promoted? Bush and his new foreign policy has seen no major changes in relations to China.||While Democratic leaders demand hammering the Chinese, and the Europeans erect barriers, U.S. willingness to incur trade debt and not regulate foreign investment has almost overnight jumpstarted China as a global player -- dangerous of course, but perhaps less so if it has a stake in the world commercial order.|
|Now I am going to lie about India. Not only has Bush's foreign policy had little or no impact on India, but also, India is trending towards ever increasing socialism.||India is the same story. Tens of millions of its citizens have overnight seen a revolutionary material improvement in their standard of living. This has mostly been due once again to classical liberalism on the part of the United States, which resisted protectionism and allowed billions in capital and millions of jobs to be outsourced to the Indians -- often at terrible costs in unemployment and readjustment here at home.|
|Now I am going to lie and call Europe more socialist than China or India, and lie again and say that the Indians and Chinese all like us, and lie a third time and say the Europeans all dislike us. In fact, China is 42% favorable, India is 71% favorable, and all of Europe is between those.||As a result while a socialist, subsidized, and protectionist Europe racks up trade surpluses, despite its utopian rhetoric, it does far less to bring others up to Western standards of commerce and consumerism. That might explain why, if the Germans and French do not appreciate us, the Indians and Chinese apparently do. How odd that we worry over the infantile rants of 140 million envious and ignore the begrudging admiration of 2 billion increasingly confident.|
|Democrats and Republicans are trying to stop bases from closing in their own districts (domestic), but I'm only going to mention Democrats. Unrelated, GW Bush announced some troop withdrawals in 2004, and withdrew most troops from Saudi Arabia. I will lie and say it was ALL the troops.||Far from being imperial, the United States, aside from its efforts to close military bases here at home -- often bitterly resisted by Democratic congressmen -- is trying to bring troops home from nations that quite unrealistically do not shoulder their own defense responsibilities and seek cover for that abdication through cheap shots at America for both leaving and staying. It was not the Clinton administration that began withdrawing soldiers in large numbers from Germany, took all American troops out of Saudi Arabia, and began redeploying contingents from the DMZ in Korea -- with promises of much more to come.|
|Now I am going to bring up the Oil for Food scandal, most of which was directly overseen by the United States, both under Presidents WJ Clinton and GW Bush and through the UN Security Council, and ignore the scandal that didn't cost billions, but millions of lives; the imposition of sanctions for weapons Saddam did not have. I challenge my readers, explain everything!||Confusion also reigns over the American rebuke needed to reform the United Nations. Critics should ask themselves, was the U.N. of 1999 in better shape than today? Then, it was in the midst of a still covered-up, billion-dollar Oil-for-Food scandal, while the shenanigans of the Secretary-General's son went unknown, and horrific regimes served on the U.N.'s human rights commissions. Now, Kofi Annan and other U.N. bureaucrats themselves are suddenly decrying scandal and inefficiency, and calling for reform. We should ask them: why is all that happening now?|
|US and French policy coincided in Lebanon, and Syria withdrew. Mubarak's rigged referendum has been upgraded to a rigged election. Elected Arafat is much better dead. I will now repeat baseless rumors that Palestinians killed Arafat.||And why are troops out of Lebanon today when they were not in 1995? Why is Hosni Mubarak at least going through the motions of holding rigged elections that he would not, say, in 1992? Are the Palestinians better off with the Arafat dynasty of the Oslo days or with the semblances of a democratically elected government -- and did the latter have anything to do with, first, the ostracism and, second, the ignominious death of Arafat, who once was so dearly beloved in European and American capitals?|
|Are Arab intellectuals more or less favorable towards America now?||Despite the torrent of abuse following the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, are Arab intellectuals more or less certain today (than say 1995) that the United States only cares about realpolitik -- and does nothing to promote the democratic aspirations of the Arab people?|
|I'll ask other unanswered, unanswerable questions, and then assert that those who wanted America to invade Darfur are the biggest Iraq critics. What hypocrites they are! After all, Saddam was killing a few hundred people a year in his prisons, while five to fifty thousand people died in the last few years in the Sudan. Anyone who says we should invade one must say we should invade both. Then I will assert that an "allied presence" was gained in Iraq, and that would not have happened in the Sudan. Trust me, I'm the world's best determiner of things that didn't happen.||Is multilateralism an objective good in all circumstances or only a useful slogan to trash current policies in Iraq? Thus are current efforts to involve many nations to pressure North Korea bad or good? And is the outsourcing of the Iranian bomb p roblem for a time to the multilateral Europeans cowboyish or prudently communal? Indeed, some who last year called for US unilateral intervention to save Darfur (in the manner they had earlier demanded such steps in Mogadishu) are the first to castigate our efforts in Iraq that have won more of an allied presence than any adventure in the Sudan might.[emphasis mine]|
|I know the secret truth, the secret machina against the current policy.||What, then, is going on under the radar, as leftists here at home continue to fault American foreign policy, even as it is caricatured abroad by European elites?|
|Leftists are becoming pre-FDR conservative right wing isolationists (even though they support the UN) and we all know that is synonymous with appeasement. And even though I just credited Bush for withdrawing troops, now I am going to say leftists are wrong because they want us to withdraw our troops from Germany and the Korean penninsula.||In some sense, the United States is reverting to its isolationist past by wanting to downsize in South Korea and Europe, convinced that our presence is only resented -- and that if Germany cannot be trusted after 60 years, or if after 50 South Korea cannot take care of itself, then there is not much more we can do anyway.|
|Bush does what other countries want us to do, and offers reassuring words, but this is way better than when Eisenhower's man Dulles helped strengthening NATO, SEATO, ANZUS, and other treaties. We don't need no steenking pieces of paper.||In other aspects, we are readjusting, taking the pulse of Japan and India and offering them closer ties if they wish -- to allay their worries about radical Islam and Chinese expansionism, but in a way far more subtle than John Foster Dulles's globe-trotting.|
|Taking the pulse of Japan and India was the same as attacking Afghanistan and Iraq, because although Afghanistan was, in some respects, refusing to hand U bin-Laden directly over to the United States, Saddam was using his oil money, in part, to fund a military that took less than four weeks to destroy. Democracy will save us the effort of invading them again.||By the same token, the United States intervened in Iraq and Afghanistan in the long-term hope that its terrorists and oil-dollar weapons would no longer be threats, and that by constitutional reform there, we could eventually lessen our military presence in the region.|
|Those who depend on our presence for their own security and incomes don't want us to leave, and possibly some others. And it seems like everyone in the Middle East is angry with us, but we are the only good guys there!||Thus the odd spectacle of Iraqi and Afghan reformers worried that we will not stay long enough, even as the Pentagon is worried that we have stayed too long. The Saudis, Palestinians, and Egyptians are angry that we are too disengaged from them and too intimate with Iraqi, Afghan, and Lebanese reformers. Meanwhile, Muslim Brotherhood types and other Islamists say we are too cozy to autocrats even as they mobilize to subvert the elections we alone are promoting -- while the fearful autocrats damn us as too naïve and too readily caving in to radicals masquerading as democrats.|
|No expert has honestly seen it my way unless they were party hacks.||I don't know what we should call all of this. But so far, no foreign-policy expert has come up with a non-partisan and intellectually honest diagnosis.|
|Apparently I can't even explain it, but it resembles Totalitarism Zen Buddhism with a Dirty Harry complex.||Perhaps it is a Zen-like mood we are in, of gradually allowing others to come to the fore, albeit with a warning "Go ahead, make my day, and see if you can do any better on your own."|
|We are leaving Iraq, you creeps, but we look tough doing it.||With the smoke of gunfire yet in the air, the marshal is backing slowly out of the crowded and creepy saloon, but staring down outlaws and with six-guns still drawn.|
- Maharashtra is the State with the greatest economic growth in India: Rediff: Maharashtra budget taxes rich, but fiscal deficit zooms
- Pew Global Attitudes Project U.S. Image Up Slightly, But Still Negative
- People's Daily Online Backgrounder: US overseas troops, military bases
- Global Security Saudi Arabia Facilities
- Washington Post: Documents: Arafat Died of Massive Stroke compared with Jerusalem Post
Best Articles On...I try to read 10 articles on X or Y, and link to the one with the most facts and the least propaganda. If I get to 20 articles, I feel pretty good. I did close to that for the Ukraine peice. Far less for Egypt. I highly recommend the exercise.
- Unpeeling the Orange: My estimation: Yuschenko is more beholden to western market liberalization forces than people realized. One article reported only 37% of Ukrainians think these folks are better than the Kuchma government. Another reported that the "goddess of the revolution," (Timoschenko) has already joined the opposition to Yuschenko. But the best article is from Peter Goodspeed at Canada's National Post. The BBC has a round up of the E. European and Russian press, showing a clear bias. Business-oriented newspapers seem to be supportive of the newly appointed PM, Yekhanurov, described elsewhere as a "liberal economist" but who is also a regional governor.
- Mubarak wins 80% in the polls, turnout expected about 30%. Nothing to read about, really. This editorial in the Washington Post makes some serious allegations, but, oddly or not, they aren't repeated in other press accounts. Not sure I'd bother. The most amazing thing about this story is the praise from US officials. For example, E Wisner, Ambassador assigned by RW Reagan to Egypt, called it "an historic day." and S McCormack, current US State department spokesperson said "I think it's safe to say that Egyptians have not seen presidential elections like the one you have just seen in their lifetimes." which could be a way of saying "we've never seen Hosni Mubarak run for a fifth term before."
- Oh, in news that seemed strange to me, along with H Kissinger, Noam Chomsky has a column in the UAE's Khaleej Times. The link is to whichever is the newest title, so it will go wrong soon. The article I am talking about is the September 3rd's "Doctrine of good intentions."
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Justice for Rich Intact, Gun Rights, TooProbably no rich people died from Hurricane Katrina, but some of them, naturally, want to get back to their homes, and start sorting things out. According to the NY Times, private security guards hired by rich people and business, openly carrying M-16s and other weapons, are the only people allowed to have guns in New Orleans. Your right to pay people to bear arms for you shall not be infringed, apparently.
No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns or other firearms, said P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said.May the Light of the Eternal Lord Shine Down and Enrich the Pockets of the Wealthy. Hallelujah. Amen. Oh, and make sure to disarm the lower and middle classes. Sometimes they get so, well, uppity.
But that order apparently does not apply to hundreds of security guards hired by businesses and some wealthy individuals to protect property. The guards, employees of private security companies like Blackwater, openly carry M-16's and other assault rifles. Mr. Compass said that he was aware of the private guards, but that the police had no plans to make them give up their weapons.
If you readAtrios or Josh Marshall, you probably don't read this blog. But just in case, or, since you likely know those two blogs, check out Bob Somerby ripping them a new one over at the incomprable Daily Howler.
UPDATE: And check out the previous day's post for some good stuff on comparing Clinton and GHW and GW Bush responses to disasters. I do believe there is a racist faction in the GOP, but, far more importantly, the GOP knows city slickers don't vote for them. Just something to keep in mind as the difference in disaster response is noted. I remember, painfully, being in NYC on September 11th, watching the fighter jets fly overhead. It was especially disturbing when one did a tight turn over Central Park. Was it necessary? I don't know, but I thought it meant things were starting all over again.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
A simple minded cheer for simplemindedness and TyrannyBill Whittle, who pre-emptively banned me from his site, and deigned to leave an insult here just a couple of days ago, is now a bit of a buzz in the Bush supporting blogoshere. His long-winded, simple-minded rant can be found here, at his blog called Eject! The gist of his two main arguments are that people are pink or gray (he's enthusiastically anti-racist, for which he deserves credit), and that pinks are basically sensualists, while grays are hard-headed engineers and cops. He then heaps praise on grays, and has only scorn for pinks. Binary systems of thought ("with us or against us") are a step down from even one dimensional thought (which allows for ultra-liberals and moderate conservatives to exist on a continuum, which many "shades of pink-gray"), and a far cry from reality. Whittle avoids even mentioning the possibility that Adolph Hitler and Saddam Hussein were some of the premiere examples of grays. Then Bill Spittle quotes a Vietnam era veteran, and approvingly says Americans are all sheep, but military guys are sheepdogs, and we have to watch out for wolves. Who thinks the people are sheep and need sheepdogs? People who hate the Republican form of government, and want to impose their system upon us. In James Madison's 1792, "Who are the Best Keepers of the People's Liberties?", he provides two characters, who each provide their own answers...
Republican: The people themselves. The sacred trust can be no where so safe as in the hands most interested in preserving it.
Anti-Republican: The people are stupid, suspicious, licentious. They cannot safely trust themselves. When they have established government they should think of nothing but obedience, leaving the care of their liberties to their wise rulers.
But, wasn't it Homeland Security?A lot of blame is being sent the way of MD Brown, the horsey director of FEMA, but, in all honesty, M Chertoff, Secretary of DHS, the man on the ball in case terrorists start doing shady land deals in Arkansas, is in charge of homeland security. Bush makes political appointees in a modern day "spoils system." The US Senate gets second order blame, for confirming these worthless entities.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Silly Good News about the JG Roberts appointmentA Scalia is fuming, and will fume for the rest of his life. With SD O'Connor and WJ Rehnquist gone, he'll be the most senior conservative on the Court. He got signals from GW Bush that he was, in fact, Bush's favorite justice. He could taste the top slot, and it has likely been barred from him for life, because JG Roberts is so much younger. In truth, SG Breyer should have the job, as he is the brightest, and I imagine the most impartial. Strangely, the court has a 4-3 leftist majority right now, should it hear any cases.
UPDATE: I had forogtten that SD O'Connor isn't going to retire until she has a replacement. In effect, therefore, making JG Roberts Rehnquist's replacement, instead of hers, delays her retirement, so it is a 4-4 bench. By the way, the Voteview ratings for the Bench are on a relative scale. JP Stevens is a +4, SG Breyer, D Souter, RB Ginsburg are +3, SD O'Connor and A Kennedy are -1, and A Scalia, C Thomas and WJ Rehnquist are/were -3. So, although it is a court with a numerical conservative majority, if you calculate that the three +3s and the three -3s are a wash, then it is one +4 vs two -1s.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
South East LouisianA's Disaster Plan Courtesy of...This was just too sickening not to mention. China over at Lenin's Tomb nailed Innovative Emergency Management, Inc scrubbing their website of the fact that they had gotten the Department of Homeland Security contract to do a disaster management plan for New Orleans and SELA. Let IEM's Director speak for himself...
[IEM's] approach to catastrophic planning meets the challenges associated with integrating multi-jurisdictional needs and capabilities into an effective plan for addressing catastrophic hurricane strikesJOB WELL DONE, asshole.
Horse's Ass Covers MD Brown, and Tidbits
- David Goldstein (not the one I know, is it, Simon's Rock?) runs a website called Horse's Ass. It's got a lot of the details of the patheticness in the shape of a person known as the current head of FEMA, MD Brown (second headline).
- By the way, Colin Powell announced his resignation on 2004-11-15, and Michael Powell announced his 2005-01-21. Although the father waited until after the election, I have a strong suspcion the son's decision wasn't entirely his own. I wonder if Rehnquist's daughter will keep her job as the Inspector General of Health and Human Services? Nice article on nepotism.
In case there was any doubt, and I think there are some people still don't know, Christopher Hitchens is a second rate hack. Read this, from Foreign Policy (does anyone know what's up with this outfit? Second time on my negative-radar in as many months).
Richard Boucher, the State Department’s chief spokesman. He took me deftly over and around the various hurdles involved in any Colin Powell retrospect, and demonstrated the diplomatic adroitness that has endeared him to so many correspondents, and seemed almost to smooth away much of the jaggedness.Endearing government spokespeople? Boucher is the guy they don't tell the nasty stuff, so he can say with a straight face "We are doing nothing improper." Boucher's an ass, and Hitch is kissing it.
Army Forced to Hide Corps of Engineer's BudgetsI'm finding some aggregate numbers without citation... Editor & Publisher: 430 million federal + 50 local over ten years until 2003. "Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle." and
The 2004 hurricane season was the worst in decades. In spite of that, the federal government came back this spring with the steepest reduction in hurricane and flood-control funding for New Orleans in history. Because of the proposed cuts, the Corps office there imposed a hiring freeze. Officials said that money targeted for the SELA project -- $10.4 million, down from $36.5 million -- was not enough to start any new jobs.SELA apparently stands for South East LouisianA, and refers to the Flood Control Project. GovExe c.com has this weird story...
Parker -- who, along with members of his family, was forced to evacuate his Mississippi farm on Sunday night -- drew media attention (and the White House's ire) in 2002 by telling the Senate Budget Committee that a White House proposal to cut just over $2 billion from the Corps' $6 billion budget request would have a "negative impact" on the national interest. Parker also noted that cuts would mean the end of scores of contracts and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.Here is Mississippi's Clarion-Ledger covering the resignation. It turns out the Army Corps of Engineers are not releasing their budget numbers. Here is the Chicago Tribune version of the AP story...
After Parker's Capitol Hill appearance, [OMB Director, now Indiana Governor] Daniels wrote an angry memo to President Bush, writing that Parker's testimony "reads badly... on the printed page," and that "Parker. . . [was] distancing [himself] actively from the administration." Parker, a former Republican congressman from Mississippi, was forced to resign shortly thereafter.
Funding for a drainage project in New Orleans went from $69 million in 2001 to $36.5 million in the current fiscal year, while funding for such hurricane-protection projects as levees around Lake Pontchartrain declined from $10 million in 2001 to $5.7 million this year, according to figures provided by the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).The Hiding Inconvenient Reality Award goes to GW Bush! What a maroon.
Funding for these projects has generally trended downward since at least the last years of the Clinton administration. Congressional records show that the levee work on Lake Pontchartrain received $23 million in 1998 and $16 million in 1999. It was not clear how much the drainage project received in 1998, but records show it received $75 million in 1999. Neither the White House nor the Corps of Engineers would confirm the numbers, nor would they provide funding levels dating to previous administrations.