Thursday, June 30, 2005

I could be there now

     On the evening of May 5th, 1997 I was called by my recruiter after 10 at night to show up at the Boston center at 5AM the next morning, ready to go, two weeks before schedule.  The "pick-ups" right before high school and college let out are usually among the very slowest, and going early meant a switch from 2nd Battalion to 1st Battalion, an improvement.  I was not, however, cleared at that time for my military job, Signals Intelligence.  I'd done better on the DLAB than my recruiters had ever seen, and it was expected that I would report to the Defense Language Institute, likely to learn Arabic, Chinese, Korean or Spanish.

     My lack of a contract (a state shared by only three of the forty-plus members of my platoon) was of little interest to the Drill Instructors.  The Series NCO, SSgt Pena, openly chuckled, telling me I'd likely end up as a cook or as a truck-driver when he found out I didn't have it in writing.

     With one week to go, in the company of other recruits who had more than a month to go, and none of the people from my pick-up, I went to Naval Intelligence Services(NIS) to fill out some forms.  I was asked out into the hall after filling out the very first form, a credit history form.  I had filled it out noting every debt that might possibly be on my credit report, some of which did not.  I was quickly told that I was not what NIS was looking for, was sent back to my platoon, and spent the rest of the day dumbstruck.  It was at that moment, standing in the hall after near three months of Marine Corps boot camp, being dealt with abruptly by a Naval Officer, that I was suppose to have remembered the name of an E-9 down that the Senior NCO at the recruitment office in Boston had given me many months earlier.  I don't know if it would have helped, I don't know if I would have remembered if I had gone to NIS on time (a month previously) it would have helped.  I do know that my Senior Drill Instructor, SSgt Snider, was actually shocked, and supposedly drove over to Manpower to see what he could do.  By the way, I had been writing my recruiter, SSgt Vinson, about the predicament.  He was never helpful or quick with his replies.

     While on the 10-day leave between boot camp and Marine Combat Training at Camp LeJeune, I asked for infantry, knowing that it was the fastest way for an enlisted guy to become an Officer.  I was denied.  The logic was that people without contracts had often been forced into the infantry, so they banned that, and I couldn't even volunteer.

     If either my first or second choice had worked out, maybe I would have stayed in the Marine Corps longer.  Maybe I would have been killed by my own platoon, I'll never know.  But in either case, I might be in Iraq or Afghanistan now.

     My stint in the Individual Ready Reserve ends in one week.

UPDATE:  One week ago was my two year blog annivesary.
Weird But True, How Viet Nam Advanced Soviet Aims

     Johnson and the Soviets had an arms deal.  They would keep their overall arms expenditures rising or falling in tandem. 

     Expenses in Viet Nam kept US expenditures rising, without any concommitant increase in US defense preparedness.  This really irked Johnson.

     How do I know?  I listen to the Johnson White House Tapes on C-SPAN 3 on Sunday mornings.

Stephen Hadley Gives the Daily Brief

     "We have had resolutions on Darfur." 

  1. Congo is worse than Darfur, why does no one give a shit?  What's so special about Sudan?  Oil?  That Arabs rule over Christians?  Both?
  2. The US brought resolutions before the Security Council, on two separate occasions(although they pulled back the second time when they realized they didn't have the votes (2nd draft resolution on Iraq)) in an attempt to bring the forces able to mustered by the UN Security Council to bear on Iraq.  No such resolution has been brought by the US re:Sudan.
  3. I'm not up on UN rules.  I don't (generally) approve of US action into the internal security matters of foreign countries, as I wouldn't approve of foreign countries meddling inside the United States of America.  The smartest ways around this self-imposed restriction seem obvious to me, and need not even be as overt as funding political groups.
Russ Feingold, Bullshit Stopper

     Countering Bush's rhetoric, Senator R Feingold recently said that the refusal to discuss an exit strategy is "playing into the terrorists' hands."

     The whole Iraq war was, but that's still pretty good.

     CNN is the only newswire in all of Google News to carry that quote.

Pride and Embarassment

     I should delete this post.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Myers to be replaced by Pace as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

     I'm not expecting any improvements in anything, but then again, I wouldn't want the best generals taken out of the field.

     Which reminds me, yesterday, the establishment press had this little article, the worst I've seen in a while.

Command Responsibility
By Andrew J. Bacevich

Tuesday, June 28, 2005; Page A15

Who "lost" Iraq? With blame for the unhappy course of events since U.S. forces occupied Baghdad in April 2003 routinely heaped on civilian officials, the military itself has gotten a pass. In fact, senior U.S. commanders have botched the war. Acknowledging that fact is an essential first step toward improving the quality of U.S. generalship.

     The article then goes on to damn General Sanchez's heavy-handed approach to the Iraqis.  I can just picture Bush saying "Sanchez, you deal with things just like you'd want.  It was simply fortune that put you in the position you are now in, and we trust your instincts implicitly.  Go ahead, takes chances or play it by the book, we [the Bush administration] simply don't care."

     The blame game begins(continues?), and this time the game is to blame the Generals.

Monday, June 27, 2005

BookTV Response: Ravi Batra, Author of Greenspan's Fraud

     His solution to the trade deficit is dumb.  The simple proof follows.  His solution to the trade deficit is a "dual exchange rate."  Unilaterally, the Fed would provide an alternative exchange rate for US exporters and foreign importers.  Using China as an example, simplifying the numbers somewhat, we have a current exchange rate of 8 yuan to the dollar.  The proposed alternative would be for the Fed to supply yuan at a rate of 6 to the dollar. The argument says US importers would not buy yuan from the Fed, since they could go to China to get 8 for each dollar.  This, Batra says, satisfies Wal-Mart and Target stores.  An exporter to China would sell their goods in China, and, in effect, trade in the yuan they received to the Federal Reserve for 6 yuan per dollar.

     It's dumb because the Fed has now purchased a lot of Yuan, at below market rates, which it has to dump.

     In effect, the US taxpayer begins to subsidize trade with China indirectly, through this exchange rate mechanism (since taxpayers end up paying Fed shortfalls), rather than the anarchic system (known as screwing ourselves by purchasing products from totalitarian states).

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Edward Klein Wants Hillary to Run

     Is it just because he wants more book sales, or is this part of a larger right-wing desire to have Clinton run?  He was on the Jim Bohannon (right wing) radio talk show on June 23rd.  He said Hillary has impressed Republicans and Democrats.  Has Hillary been impressing Republicans, or has she had them seething in pools of sweat and hate?&nsbp; If only Kitty Kelley got as much press as this sleaze.

A Couple Nice Blogs

     The humorous News5000.  And a link I found from there, the cuts-out-the-spin WhymRhymer101.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Greatest Debate of the Bush Presidency

     The question is, "Is Bush simply a cock-sure nincompoop, blindly and pettily striking out where whim or insanity leads him, or is he a scared nincompoop, blindly striking out where mendacious Secretaries lead him?"

     On the one side, there is the fact that Bush has a very personal relationship with God.  He allegedly told PM Abbas of Palestine that God told him to invade Iraq.  There is the smirking.  There is Saddam as someone who tried to kill his father.  There is my personal theory that he say 9/11 not as a failure, not a Plieku, but in fact a sign from heaven. 

     On the other hand, there is PNAC and the Neo-Cons and the Oil people for Iraq.  There is the Club for Growth Anti-Social Security plan.  There are the corporate plans for freeing, and liberating money.  There is the corporate drafted Presiscription Drug Plans. 

     Is there a third choice?  Is Bush the unthinking tool of the people who voted for him?  Can we lay the blame on the electorate?  One word: abortion.  No moves to outlaw it at all.

Friday, June 24, 2005

What is Songun-Blog?

     First, what is Songun?  Songun is the banner of the People's Republic of North Korea.  Songun-Blog is a very witty attempt to make leftists look stupid.  Far less funny is Arms Control Wonk, but he has a far better run-down of US-DPRK relations than the hyper-ventilating Songun Blog.  Let this comment speak for the blog's whole ouevre.

This blog is totaly stick it to the Buschenerovesfeldian neocon colonialist junta in a way that few other blogs are capable of doing so. I aplaud your efforts to bring real down to earth news from the worker's paradise that is northern Korea!

     Comment by Dean04Prez.  The mispelings are part of it, of course.  In the exact same spirit, but not as funny to me, is Stop the Neocon Death Machine, also an attempt to make the left look silly through bad spelling and slippery slope arguments.

     I highly recommend you join with Songun Blog and find a way to support His Excellency, President and Commander-in-Chief George Walker Bush in his an attempt to "spread freedom" throughout the world.

I Assume You Know

     Massive funder of the right wing, and publisher of prominent right-wing loony rag Washington Times, is helping North Korea.

     Meanwhile, much less known, is that prominent left-wing funder George Soros is funding student groups that have been part of the "succesful" overthrow the governments of Serbian Milosevic, Ukraine's Yanukovych, and is working on Lukashenko in Belarus, Shevardnadze in Georgia, and is funding students groups in Uzbekistan, too.  Ironic, ain't it?

Take It Easy, But be rich and smart

     A summary of Freakonomics, a book based on a study of 20,000 children... it doesn't matter what parents do (spank, read to kid every day, stay together) but it matters who you are (rich, smart, older moms).

     Of course, the study also says PTA membership (a "do") and owning a library (something one can "do") are positively correlated.

     Thanks to 3QuarksDaily for the link to the Times Online piece.

President Bush's War, What He Wants You To Believe (Short Version)

     We are freedom spreaders.  They are trying to be will shakers. 

     (Short Version, translated): If you are against me, you are against freedom.  If you are against me, it is because the Iraqi insurgents have shaken your will.

     To me it sounds a bit like a cocktail party, with freedom-spreaders (a red, white and blue processed cheese-like product on a cracker) and will-shakers (some sort of alcoholic beverage, with fruit).

Dear Corporate Media,

     Before the War in Iraq, leftist and Democrat voices against the War were basically ignored.  The number of pro-war guests on the major television stations out numbered the anti-war guests 100 to 1.  This, despite the fact that a majority of House Democrats, and over 40% of Senate Democrats voted against HJR 114.

     In fact, the biggest publicity was given to those anti-war voices from the right.  One might be forgiven for thing that most of the argument against the war came from retired Republicans; Brent Scowcroft, Norman Schwartzkopf, and Dick Armey got more press for their anti-war comments than all House and Senate Democrats combined.

     I'd like to shove your collective noses in a pool of sewage, mixed with blood, in downtown Baghdad, then leave you to your own devices as far as getting home.  However, I can point out that your collective "patriotism" was, in fact, misplaced.  You were wrong to trust the Bush administration, you were wrong not to dig deeper. Many Democrats, ignored then, and ignored now, were right.

     Please consider giving some of these Democrats, proved right by: the passage of time, the lack of WMD, released memos, the Herskowitz comments, some valuable airtime.

     Profit is not the only stake in this matter.

     Free Idea : Have a debate between conflicting anti-war voices.
Free Idea 2: Go within your own massive organizations and find people who were against the war before it started.  They will likely know more of the anti-war voices, and their relative strengths and weaknesses, than yourselves.

Josh Narins

Sunday, June 19, 2005


     "Republican" Jihadi Senator C Hagel, of the Communist Tyranny of Nebraska, said

"The White House is completely disconnected from reality," the Nebraska Republican said. "It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

     Luckily, most brave American news vanguard has dismissed the Islamo-fascist and his pro-terrorist mania.  Check out this cache of Google news.


     At the exact same time that the USG is saying "they aren't an army, they don't deserve Geneva Convention status (although the Geneva Convention gives _everyone_ some status)" ... at the exact moment they argue that al-Qaeda aren't an army, they also argue that we are fighting a "War" on these guys, and that, because of this war, civilian law does not apply, and that martial law (military interrogations, torture, no civilian oversight) applies.

What, Him Worry?

"Some may disagree with my decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, but all of us can agree that the world's terrorists have now made Iraq a central front in the war on terror," Bush said.

     Hey, did I say I was an artiste?  You want the rights to do this image up right?  Ask I shall likely oblige.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Passing Thoughts

     How does a realist handle terrorists?  To the realist, terrorist groups like al-Qaeda don't exist.  The realist, a term from political science, believes the State is the fundamental actor on the political stage, and no other actors count.  This is in contrast with pluralists, who can at least look at NGOs like Amnesty International and al-Qaeda (NNGO? Nefarious Non Governmental Organization?) and globalists.

     I've mentioned before it is a travesty that the Bush administration chose two non-Arabic, non-Kurdish speakers to rule Iraq for them (J Garner and JP Bremer).  In a similar vein, the right establishment (WSJ/Fox) loudly trumpets the work of Art Chrenkoff, who compiles allegedly "good news" about Iraq in a weekly blog post.  Art doesn't speak Arabic, either.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Latest Attempt to Smear Iran

     Please do not be fooled.  M El-Baradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), a group inside the United Nations (with the coolest of all UN flags), is not a friend.

     A recent UN report on Iran, loudly trumpeted in the establishment press, says Iran lied about their plutonium efforts, which had earlier thought to have ended in 1993.  Why the charade?  One of Iran's presidential candidates has promised not to go forward with any nuclear weapons program, and is hoping to garner support from the west by making a big to-do over this in the week before today(yesterday)'s election. 

     Points to remember.  Iran admitted these experiments took place, they were not discovered by the UN team.  The sum total of the post-1993 activity involves one experiment on one bottle in 1995, and another experiment on another bottle in 1998.  Iran claims (via Reuters)

"Had all communications and clarifications of (Iran) been thoroughly reviewed or presented, one could have easily noticed the route of incorrect conclusion or misunderstanding regarding the date of the termination of plutonium production," it said.

The Iranian statement said the work was not the same type of work as that which Tehran said had ended in 1993.

"There is a clear distinction between the date of termination of the research project on plutonium and the dates of the other activities such as the ones related to purification ..., which is not considered as part of the main research project and any laboratory might do at a later time," Iran said.

     Which just goes to prove that they need a better translator and/or spokesperson, but not that they have nuclear bombs, or a nuclear bomb program.

L Gohmert, Republican Representative of Texas

     Has a proposal that before the US House right now that says if a country votes against the US in the UN (more than half the time), then we should cut off all foreign aid to these countries.

     His next move, undoubtedly, will be to cut off all federal aid to states of the United States of America that don't vote for Republicans.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Budget Stuff

     2006 Budget is old news, I guess.  It doesn't look like other budgets, to me.  Here it is, if you are intersested.  I was looking up the DoE budget, since Bush gave a speech on "energy" today, and I noticed he gave some serious attention to homeowners and their ability to effectively heat their homes.  As I've shown in the last couple of days, use of oil by residences in this country isn't higher than it was in the 1950s.

     I should mention that Citizens for Tax Justice, run by Robert McIntyre, is a top-notch resource.  Here's a one page PDF against the repeal of the AMT.  Here's another page about US (Federal, State and Local) Taxes vs other countries.

     Neither C-SPAN nor the White House website has the Bush speech yet.  I'd love to spend some time doing an analysis of how much time he spends on each topic, compared to how much funding he's giving that project in the budget.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

More Oil Graphs

     Down below I posted a graph I made showing how residential and commercial use of oil is very small, industrial is large, but that transportation is using the largest share.  Someone asked, so I made a breakdown of how residential oil is used in the United States.

Teen Screen, Your Tax Dollars and Pharma

     I like drugs.  I like happy people (except when they have reason to be unhappy, then it is insanity).

     Bu$hCo, Pharma, with Little Frist in tow, have developed a plan to screen every teen in the country for mental disorders, using a computer program, in order to ensure profits.

     Here's Online Journal with more on TeenScreen and TMAP.  Basically, Pharma sees a lot of profits in automatically diagnosing state prisoners with mental illness and getting taxpayers to shell out for the drugs (regardless of any need stated by the prisoner, his representatives, or even the prison system) and now is getting a chance to computer-diagnose the entire public school population. 

     Bah and Fie.

Language and the EU

     A Fistful of Euros posts about Gaelic(Irish) being a new accepted language in the EU, and about translation costs (est. 1 billion/yr).

Monday, June 13, 2005

Cryptome Memos

     So, six memos were leaked and I just found out?  Thanks to DailyDissent for the link.

5 Wolfowitz said that it was absurd to deny the link between terrorism and Saddam.  There might be doubt about the alleged meeting in Prague between Mohammed atta, the lead hijacker on 9/11, and Iraqi intelligence (did we, he asked, know anything more about this meeting?). But there were other substantiated cases of Saddam giving comfort to terrorists, including someone involved in the first attack on the World Trade Center (the latest New Yorker[magazine] apparently had a story about links...

     That was a memo written by the British Ambassador to the United States, Christopher Manning.

From DoE Energy Information Agency Data

     Remember, the Republicans are trying to kill Amtrak.  A Republican Defense Secretary and former head of General Motors, gave us the Interstate Highway System.  The original data is here under Petroleum Consumption.  I made it myself with a perl script. Took an hour or two, I suppose, was doing some other stuff at the time.  Transportation is now 67.89% of the total of US oil consumption, and rising.  Funny how no one points that out.  It was 55.26% in 1949.  The highest point of the Transportation line represents 13,244,000 barrels of oil a day.

     Now, I'm not particularly anti-Carter.  I sympathize with him because he was, in my humble estimation, the first Democrat victim of the Murdoch machine.  When I was quite young I remember the nightly news reporting, every single day for more than a year, the number of days the hostages had been in Iran.  Did Carter put them there?  No, but he let the Shah into America for medical reasons.  I've read the Marines protecting the embassy didn't react.  Did Carter suck Iranian hoohah in order to get them back?  No.  No kowtowing by Carter.  Did Reagan get down on his knees and pray to the Mullahs for oil and hostages?  Yuppers. Later he sold these same nutcakes SAM missiles while he was selling Iraq weapons (in the great spirit of peice-of-shit-evilness which was Reagan'ism) in order to circumvent the Boland Amendment, US law at the time. 

     But when Carter asked American households (the pink line below) to put on sweaters, or when Greens tell us to buy energy efficient lightbulbs, I think they are missing the boat.

     In a word, the boat is trains.

Griffiths and the Deal

     Weeks ago, to stop the filibuster shenanigans, 14 Senators cut a deal.  Of the seven remaining Judges who were being blocked, three were not blocked (W Pryor, JR Brown and P Owens).  Two Judges were specifically agreed to be blocked.

     One of those Federal Bench nominees, TB Griffiths, is on the Senate floor now.  Senator O Hatch foolishly reminded the audience that he was, in fact, Chief Legal Counsel for the impeachment of President WJ Clinton.

NYT, Stooges for Bush In Iraq, Part 923

     I woke up this morning in a good mood, thinking that the recently published memo has put the nail in the coffin of Bush's Pollyanna-esque supporters.  David Sanger, in a triumphant tract, declares with his (and the feckless NY Times') headline that "Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made".  I see Sanger, a WSJ regular, is making a powerful attempt to quash the alternative idea, clearly present in the paper, that the decision to go to war had been made.

     Although not backing his claim up with any further analysis, quotes or even comments, Sanger writes in the first sentence "A memorandum written by Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet office in late July 2002 explicitly states that the Bush administration had made 'no political decisions' to invade Iraq, but that American military planning for the possibility was advanced."

     Is this a fair reading of the memo?  I don't think so.  First I present, the entire paragraph from whence Sanger pulls his snippet of a quote:

US Military Planning

6.  Although no political decisions have been taken, US military planners have drafted options for the US Government to undertake an invasion of Iraq. In a 'Running Start', military action could begin as early as November of this year, with no overt military build-up. Air strikes and support for opposition groups in Iraq would lead initially to small-scale land operations, with further land forces deploying sequentially, ultimately overwhelming Iraqi forces and leading to the collapse of the Iraqi regime. A 'Generated Start' would involve a longer build-up before any military action were taken, as early as January 2003. US military plans include no specifics on the strategic context either before or after the campaign. Currently the preference appears to be for the 'Running Start'. CDS will be ready to brief Ministers in more detail.

     Even Bush would have to admit that the military plans described ('Running' and 'Generated' start) require different political strategies, and hence, that different political decisions be made.  Notice how the section is entitled "Military Planning" and not anything else.  Running and Generated are not simply alternative game plans, each required that the UK/US axis "create" a particular political climate.

     The question of US political decision making is discussed elsewhere in the document. For example in §3 of the Summary, which outlines the idea of pretending to go through the UN to get what they already wanted... "creating the conditions necessary to justify government military action, which might include an ultimatum for the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq."  Later in the document, the exact means for using the UN are explained in more detail (§ 13 and §14).  They wouldn't have needed to use the United Nations to justify the war if the decision to wage war had not already been made in the White House.

     In §1 "The US Government's military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace."  Apace of what, if not war?  Sanger never wonders.

     §5 entitled "The Goal" says "US military planning unambiguously takes as its objective the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime, followed by elimination if Iraqi WMD."

     The section entitled "Justification" begins with §11 with the quote "US views of international law vary from that of the UK and the international community. Regime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law."  In other words, "regime change" was seen by the Bush adminsitration as a proper basis for invasion, and hence the Bush administration had already justified the war, at least to themselves.

     In the section entitled "Timescales", beginning with §21, leads off "Although the US military could act against Iraq as soon as November, we judge that a military campaign is unlikely to start until January 2003, if only because of the time it will take to reach consensus in Washington."(emphasis mine)  The Executive Branch is the Presidency, there is no such thing as "consensus" within one person.  The consensus under discussion is with Congress.  The President had decided, despite Sanger's brave efforts to spin things the other way with a snip of a quote.

     One horrifying idea that this paper does bring forward is something I simply hadn't considered seriously.  Namely the idea that the US didn't know Saddam didn't have weapons, simply because they were too incompetent.  We desperately need the best people in government again, and decent ones.

Lighter Side

     Found a horribly maintained page on Idiot Legal Arguments, includes

Sued former Pres. Carter, current Pres. Clinton and never-president Perot and others alleging that Carter is Clinton's biological father and that Clinton and Perot together are responsible for the deaths of over ten million black women in secret concentration camps, for which the plaintiff wanted only 5.6 Billion dollars in compensatory and punitive damages and an accounting of every black woman born in the US since 1940, as well as an end to NASA's cyborg conspiracy
T.S. Tyler v. Carter et al (SDNY 1993) 151 FRD 537;
Suing the UN because it did not itself assist him but advised him to contact a well-respected charitable agency thereby violating "my right to choose the philanthropy agency I prefer".
Klyumel v. United Nations (SDNY unpub 12/4/92) aff’d (SDNY unpub 2/17/93); claiming that their unfavorable decision in their previous suit was the result of UN scheme to set up a "New World Order"
That there is a mysterious Original Thirteenth Amendment which revokes the citizenship of anyone using a title of nobility and that this refers to lawyers, and thereby the judges, prosecutors, and even the Congressmen who enacted the law are not citizens and couldn't do anything to the nitwit. 
D.A. Anderson v. US (ND IL unpub 4/27/98)
Tried to insist that traffic policemen must be "elected officials" to give out tickets or else his right to a "republican form of govt" was violated.
Endsley v. State (1987) 184 Ga.App 797, 363 SE2d 1;
Suing the local Unitarian Church and its pastor as well as NASA, alleging an enormous conspiracy whereby the Unitarian congregants are praying for the arrival of flying saucers which will abduct and torture earthlings
Khan v. Unitarian Church of Kensington (ND Cal unpub 10/26/94);

     Too bad he can't write HTML.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

New Tool In the "Information" War

     I've been following the words of Chrenkoff ( as a prime force in the propaganda campaign.  Probably legal because he's Australian, and only paid by the WSJ and the Australian Liberal Party, so it doesn't fall under "propaganda" regulations.

     Spinning another, far more elegant (although probably less effective) yarn is MichaelYon (  He's in Iraq.  He doesn't allow comments.


     Sadly, we won't realize it till we meet aliens.

     So, in somewhat related thinkings, an Iraqi(Iranian?) commenter at DailyWarNews points out that Iraqi National Identity is the strongest in the region.

     Now, I don't think there are serious people out there who thinks being born on some certain patch of land, or between any particular pair of rivers, thinks that the place of birth makes a person's identity, or has a role in their philosophy, or thinks people born in New York are Haudenosee(Iroquois).

     What might explain this feature of the Iraqi people?  Some might answer it relates to the historic greatness of the Abbasid Caliphate, the huge empire centered in Baghdad.  I acknowledge that people can think such things, but they don't think so much about such things.  It becomes, at best, a light-weight cultural currency.  Sometimes I think Italians hearken back to Rome, imagine they share the splendor of millenium ago, but I'm not convinced this is fundamental to a people, or that it can be fundamental to more than a few people.  Not to mention that Iraq, at that time a name region of the Caliphate, included portions of Iran and all of Kuwait.  It is doubtful that an event like the Iran-Iraq war would leave people from the (1200 year ago) Iraq (now in Iran) feeling too pro-Iraq.

     So, what is the cause?  My answer is propaganda, specifically the ba'athist newspapers system of Iraq for the last three decades..  Since 1978, "political activity" by members of the Army, or ex-Army, has been a death penalty offense.  Since there was universal conscription, this basically ended published dissent in Iraq.  Saddam used the press, as any nationalist dictator would, to create a unified, patriotic society.  Patriotics nationalism is the fuel for any nationalist regime, such as the Bush administration in America.

     Before writing this, I considered that, without this unified press, the chances of Iraqi dissolution are enhanced.  This view should be tempered with the fact that Iraqis are now receiving international news, not just the views of the sectarian Shia and Kurdish ruling groups.

From Daily War News

     In the Sunday Times (of London) there's a new memo!  Choice tidbits include

The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair's inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was "necessary to create the conditions" which would make it legal.
and, this part is important...
The document said the only way the allies could justify military action was to place Saddam Hussein in a position where he ignored or rejected a United Nations ultimatum ordering him to co-operate with the weapons inspectors. ...

"It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject," the document says. But if he accepted it and did not attack the allies, they would be "most unlikely" to obtain the legal justification they needed.

     What a provocative plan!  They hoped to provoke Saddam to strike at militarily.  Who would have died in that strike?  Sure as fuck wouldn't have been Bush or Blair, so who gives a shit, eh?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Just A Reminder

     Prominent American linked to al-Qaeda is a Republican.  There is no doubt, apparently, that Charles Taylor (former dictator of Liberia) is in league with al-Qaeda.  There is also no doubt that Pat Robertson, prominent Republican and Christian, had been in league with Charles Taylor. 

     When America started its massive "overthrow democracy" program in the 1950s, we added "In God We Trust" to the coinage and "Under God" to the pledge. 

     When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait he added "God is Great" to the Iraqi flag. 

     After the attacks of Sept 11, 2001, which Robertson's money helped finance, Robertson said...

I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way–all of them who have tried to secularize America–I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'
Senator O Hatch on JR Brown

     Senator Hatch suggests that he would like to see the Senate move beyond the time that nominees are considered on the basis of their political beliefs.  Leaving aside the fact that JR Brown isn't particularly well rated, and certainly not among the most qualified of Judges, let's return to those radical freaks who went against the choice of President Goerge Washington for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  John Rutledge was voted down precisely because of his political views.  Senator O Hatch's loyalty to Dear Leader is astounding.  I suppose if someone's politics tend to the theocratic, fascist or communist, I suppose O Hatch would have no problem.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Reading Between The Lines At Chrenkoff

     Chrenkoff is a party worker of the Liberal Party of Australia.  They would be considered Conservatives in America.  With a little financial help from the US right-wing press, he puts together a weekly report of "good news" from Iraq, and a monthly report on Afghanistan.

     I here summarize some of this good news.  This is all from the last five weeks, and each has its own link.  This isn't part of the list, but I couldn't leave it out... "[t]he president of Afghanistan's supreme court has issued a fatwa or religious edict saying that anyone who kills a foreigner will be sentenced to death."  It is a screwed up country that protects foreigners more than its own people.  Oh, I guess it would mostly be Americans who are protected.  Send them over a wet kiss for me, OK?

  • April 30 ... killing of four Taleban ... airstrike ... suspected insurgent camp ... central Afghanistan
  • April 30 ... senior Taleban commander killed ... another captured ... Zabul and Kandahar provinces
  • May 1 ... arrest of four Taleban ... Uruzgun province
  • May 2 ... two Taleban militants ... arrested ... Uruzgan province
  • May 2 ... capture of six Taleban ... Kandahar province
  • May 3 ... TwentyForty Taleban killed and six arrested ... near Deh Chopan in Zabul Province
  • May 3 ... Another 20 Taleban were killed near Kandahar ... nine Afghan Army soldiers dead
  • May 3 ... recovered a significant arms cache ... Farah province
  • May 8 ... Police ... province of Kandahar claimed ... arrested 15 Taleban activists and four foreigners ... The crackdown on insurgents lasted three days
  • May 8 ... Four suspected Taleban fighters ... killed ... policeman was injured ... Zabul province
  • May 8 ... arrest of four gunmen ... Ghazni province
  • May 9 ... Twenty three Taleban killed ... province of Laghman
  • May 13 ... Security officials ... discovered and defused ... explosives ... Nangarhar province
  • May 14 ... arrest ... Nangarhar province ... two Afghans and one Pakistani ... four remote control bombs ... explosives
  • May 15 ... Afghan security forces ... discovered and diffused several small bombs ... Paktia province
  • May 16 ... arrest ... of a man who confessed to a bomb attack against the Kabul Air Force University last year ... in Kabul
  • May 16 ... capture of three insurgents ... Khowst province
  • May 17 ... Police ... thwart possible rocket attack ... Paktika Province .."13 scud rockets" (LIE!)
  • May 17 ... arrest ... Uruzgan province ... 15 Taleban fighters
  • May 18 ... Four Taleban ... arrested ... Kandahar province
  • May 18 ... Italian forces ... uncovered a huge weapons cache
  • May 21 ... Twelve Taleban killed ... Paktika province
  • May 23 ... Two Taleban ... killed and 10 others detained ... Uruzgan province
  • May 24 ... huge cache of weapons ... Paktia province
  • May 24 ... police discovered 140 kilos of explosives ... Kabul province
  • May 25 ... huge weapons cache seized ... Ghazni province
  • May 26 ... arrest ... 19 people allegedly involved in bombing ... Baghlan province
  • May 26 ... arrested five suspected fighters and seized 350 shotguns ... Zabul province
  • May 30 ... Eleven Taleban soldiers ... killled ... and three others including a high-rank commander arrested ... province of Zabul
  • May 30 ... up to nine Taleban ... killed ... along the Afghan-Pakistan border

     The war in Afghanistan started October 7th, 2001, three years and nine months ago.

A Fan of That Site, Daily War News

     I am thinking I should post stuff, stuff that people get to me, stuff that concerns my theory on language and terrorism. 

     One blogger writes me

I ran across something today I thought you'd be interested in, in a review of a book called The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity. The review says "The Greeks, like the Sumerians and Babylonians, called people who did not speak their language barbaroi, speakers of nonsense."
and "A Fan Of This Site" at DailyWarNews recomends Daniel Ellsberg's recent article, an article which includes a bit about language in Viet Nam.
Senator Sessions Does Not Understand

     In trying to explain to his fellow Senators, in order to generate loathing amongst igorant C-SPAN viewers for liberals, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama attempts to explain a "Post-Modernist" school of judicial legal philosophy, and fails.  One wonders whether or not he read about this particular philosophy in Reader's Digest, the simplistic brush with which he attempts to paint the left.  It would appear he'd stuck himself in the eye with it.

     Distant words are not set in stone, like the Originalists would have you believe.  There never was a unanimous understanding of every phrase, clause and word of the Constitution.  In that sense, since a phrase like "well-regulated" (from the 2nd amendment) wasn't defined in exacting detail in timeless language, it can be found to have multiple interpretations, and, in so far as the reading is within the gray space created, the multiple readings may have equal standing.  That surely doesn't mean, as Senator Sessions suggested, that the left establishment is training lawyers to say they can find any meaning they desire in law.  What a canard.  What a fraud.

     Senator Sessions lies when he says that Janice Rogers Brown wrote "the dissent" in San Remo Hotel.  The Senator lies when he says it was 4-3, it was 4 Concurring, 2 who concur and dissent, and no one joined Brown's dissent.(Word Doc)

From Daily War News

     Suicide bomber database created, no link to Islamic Fundamentalism (more complete version here) found.  Contradicting US Foreign Policy 'tards apparently gets you little play (cached Google News search for "Pape").  Looks like you can get information that will keep you safer from terrorism in al-Jazeerah quicker than you can in any of the US majors.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Mongolia and Linguistic Borders

UPDATE: If you liked this, check out my new site here, thank you.

     A lengthy conversation highlighted much good and a little bad news for my linguistic theory.  On the good side are the French (sometimes separtist) Canadians.  Although, I should be clear, nothing about conflict is good news.  Also "good" is the Malay situation in the three most southeastern sections of Thailand.  The rebels are primarily Malay speakers, Thai is Daic (it's own family) while Malay is Malayo-Polynesian (sometimes called Austronesian).

     On the negative side are two Chinese situations.  The first doesn't seem like it contradicts the theory.  The Hui are simply Muslim Chinese (not a different language) and have had some clashes with non-Muslim (Han) Chinese in 2004.  But it looks as if the only incident of violence was more of a local event than any permanent secessionist or terrorist situation.

     A more serious question is, why doesn't (Inner) Mongolia struggle against China?  My theory would make them a likely candidate for it.  Mongolia's people speak Mongol, an Altaic language like Turkish or Manchurian.  The Altaic family, in fact, is named for the Altay Mountains(Altai means "Gold") of Mongolia, but we don't hear about Mongolian (linguistic) separtists or terrorists like we hear with the Uyghur of Sinkiang.  So, I looked up some history.  The State Department "International Boundary Study"(pdf) from 1984 on the Chinese-Mongolian border over the years is informative.  Before having read that, as many people know, the Mongols once had conquered China (united in its largest yet extent under the grandson of Chingis(Ghenghis) Khan.  From 1790 until 1911 the Manchu Dynasty basically returned the favor, demanding an annual tribute of eight white horses and one white camel, but not much else.  In 1911/2, the Manchu Dynasty ended, starting with Sun Yat-Sen's Chinese Republic, which was followed six years later by the change in government in Russia, followed again in 1947 by another change in government in China.  From the Border Study...

[S]ettlement of Mongolian lands [by Chinese] violated historic agreements--agreements that justified Chinese suzerainty. In December [1911], "autonomous" Mongolia, ruled by the Living Buddha of Urga, declared itself independent from any form of Chinese rule. Some chance of success was assured in that the declaration occurred when the demise of the Manchu Dynasty was at hand.

In 1912 the Republic of China was born, and its leadership was quick to initiate efforts to reassimilate Outer Mongolia. The republic's "Regulations Concerning the Treatment Applicable to Mongols" declared: "Hereafter, Mongolia should not be treated as a dependency, but should be placed on equal footing with other provinces." Such efforts were almost predestined to fail. Indeed, in the chaotic times that followed the fall of the Manchu Dynasty, the republic was fortunate that Chinese Inner Mongolia's efforts to unite with Outer Mongolia had been unsuccessful.
(emphasis mine).

     Pehraps I should change the quote to read "No Longer Living Buddha of Urga?"  Anyway, the net result was a rapid series of treaties with Russia and/or Russia and China that gave the Tsar control, according to the paper, primus inter pares, by 1915..  I find another USG paper which includes these details.  The paper is part of the US "Country Studies" series, this one on Mongolia.

Soon, however, the effects of the upheaval in Russia began to reach Mongolia. In October 1920, Russian White Guard troops under Baron Roman Nicolaus von Ungern-Sternberg invaded from Siberia. In February 1921, after a fierce battle, Von Ungern-Sternberg drove the Chinese out of Niyslel Huree and occupied the city. At first the White Guards were hailed as liberators by Mongolian monarchists, but in the next several months Von UngernSternberg 's reign of terror and destruction aroused popular opposition.
The locals saw the Soviet Moscow government an ally, and by 1924 Mongolia was declared a "People's Republic."  Soviet-Mongolian connections increased mightily during WWII, as the Japanese had troops in neighboring Manchuria and Inner Mongolia.  The Country Study says the Soviets were afraid of a "Mengkukuo", a Japanese puppet monarchy in Mongolia.  To shift gears quickly here, it had formerly been the Buddhist hierarchy which had formed the center of Mongolian intellectual life, and the Soviet aligned government, in conformity with their principles of atheism and taking away control from old elite groups, ruthlessly destroyed it.  The local Communists executed thousands of top monks, imprisoning many more middle-ranking ones.  After WWII, China had troubles enough with Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, and Sinkiang, (the latter two having seen Soviet-Mongolian troops during the last stages of WWII) and so ceded any claim to Mongolia in order to get full recognition of its claims closer to the center. 

     Perhaps the reason for the lack of Mongolian uprising in China has more to do with the Soviet control over Mongolian policies than anything else?  The brief unification effort in 1911 could be seen as reflecting relative power relations.  Perhaps more important was that the current government of Mongolia existed, and may not have wanted to deal with an angered China.  The Manchu Chinese had exerted effort to divide and conquer Inner Mongolia when it divided the region, a division that is maintained.  Another thing occurs to me.  China has over 50 "ethnic" groups, and has numerous linguistic minorities, not to mention the inherent language problems with Chinese itself, with a common written but widely varied spoken practice.  Does China have more practice with linguistic minorities?  Their experience with the Tibetans resulted in the maintenance of Tibet within China, but was not done in a great way.

     I should mention that I am aware of the situation in Burma, where Aung San Suu Kyi leads the democracy party against the ruling military junta.  Suu Kyi, like her father before her, represents the Karen, a large linguistic group which is in the Sino-Tibetan Family, but not in the Burman sub-family.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

FAS Secrecy News

     I read the 13 page CRS report on Cuba and terrorism. 

     In any event, keep tabs on Secrecy News from FAS to consider yourself well informed.

E-ssembly Progress Update

     Got some decent suggestions today for individual point pages.  I admit the viewer is entirely primitive for everything but debate at this time.  My goal was based on the idea to get it to work correctly, creating pages in the order a person would need them (the main guts are already done).  I've been working on the "Floor" pages lately, which, when tied in with the scheduling subsystem, and the motion subsystem, will allow things to progress reasonably.  I've got the agenda subsystem (did I already mention this?) set up so the default way works at least one way.  A couple more steps on the Floor system, combined with a (yuck) schedule system (the schedule create page is going to be a pain) and I think it will be, to some degree "completely" functional.  That would still only be a small portion of the total functionality.

     That would be here, in case you needed to know.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Rice at Commonwealth Club

     Sorry, too buried in the product of that snow job to utter a word.  "human liberty" apparently has always been our goal as a nation.  Ignore the fact that we paid tribute to the Dey of Tripoli, OK? 

     "Let's Be Real" says the most fantasy-land Secretary of State in American history.  She declares that the UN needs reform, everyone applauds, never has the nature of this reform been defined.  I tell you what, the USG needs reform.  John Bolton is praised for working with Jim Baker on Western Sahara!?!  Unbelievable.  WS is a mess, occupied country without any real government.  Lovely King of Morocco doesn't care about the tribals, often kills them, iirc.

Rumsfeld Sure Fooled Me

     As a side note, is there anyone who hits his lectern more often than Secretary Rumsfeld? Can't he talk with just his mouth?

     Anyway, to make Secretary of Defense happy, the press conference ended on a pro-war note.  A war-supporter (one can only suppose) asks (my transcription, 31:55 into C-SPAN video of event)

Mr Secretary, in an interview with the Associated Press
Iraq's Foreign Minister expressed concern that the US may pull out
before the iraqi forces are ready
I imagine you probably haven't read that interview yet
What sort of assurances can you give to iraqi people, to the american people what the bar is, for when
How, how do you know how ready the iraqi forces will be?
What are you looking for when you come up with these sorts of assessments?

Sec Rumsfeld:
It's interesting one day someone says that uh, the, uh,
They might stay longer than they're needed
And the other is they might leave before, while they're still needed
And i suppose it's an imperfect world

     I wonder if having Mr Rumsfeld respond to comments of the US puppet Iraqi Foreign Minister really amounts to a conversation, or, in Rusmfeld's words "the other" (someone).

     By the way, in a follow-up question, the answer turns out to be "The president said we'd stay as long as we're needed and that, that is as long as they're not capable of handling their own security needs."  At first that just sounded dumb, since they will have security issues as long as we are there, for twenty years, even.  Then it sounded imperial, since it had nothing to do with what the Iraqi government decides.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Not Really News

     The only real news is Operation Lightning, but the fact that Bu$h is meeting again with one of the Venezuela coup-makers of April, 2002 is certainly not good news.