Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday's Collection Of Post

Worth spending a few minutes reading.

At Unclaimed Territory, Glenn Greenwald reminds us who wanted to cut and run from Somalia.

what is the National intelligence Estimate? American Entrophy wants to explain that to a lying Tony Snow.

Over at Outside the Tent, a quick look at one of Bush's favorite and more outrageous non-sequiturs.


Another 'Interesting' Republican Resigns

It appears that Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) may have wanted to be a touch overly friwndly with a 16 year old male page.

Could this be another Jim west (R-Wa.) like story developing?


over at Cannon Fire, a couple of more examples

Update II

Where there is smoke, is there fire? Maybe, he is withdrawing from the election and leaving office.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

More Cherry Iraq News

A couple of polls have been released in the last few days. One clearly shows just how much love the Iraqi people have for their 'liberators', about 60% of them now approve of attacking US troops.

In addition, the overwhelming of non Kurdish Iraqis want us out of Iraq yesterday, if not sooner.

The death toll keeps rising, 40 more tortured bodies were found today, 3 more US troops were killed, and more evidence of obscene war profiteering has been exposed.

Just another day of disasters brought to us by Bush and his rubber stamp Republican congress.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Terrorism And The Iraq NIE

Bush has done what I expected him to do, released only part of the NIE. He has cherry picked 4 pages of the 30+ page report. These pages are from the summary. While they do include the portion that clearly state that the Iraq war is breading terrorist, they also include a number of Bush's talking points.

This portion is giving him some cover with the national media. This morning on CNN a talking head from Time provided a prime example of this by focusing on the portions that he says sound like they come from a Bush speech. Aside from indicating what may be a personal bias on the part of the guest from Time, while not completely wrong, it is clearly not completely right.

The report does indicate that terrorism is a threat, that a lack of democratic institutions add to existing fustrations, and that, as our President loves to say, there are people trying to kill us. Overall the report indicates that winning the war is critical to the US.

A key issue about all of these points is, I don't think you would find many people inside the democratic party who would disagree. It is not so much the goal, but the path the president has chosen that is in question from the left. Yes, we have to fight terrorism, but we have to fight it in a wise manner.

Prior to the war many voices, including mine, pointed out that a war in Iraq would only incite more anti-US passions, would increase the appeal of Al Qaida, and would further destabilize an already dangerous area. It was not the goal of fighting terror we disagreed with, it was the path Bush selected that was wrong then (as has been clearly proven) and is wrong now.

For some reason, the Talking Heads in the media refuse to see this. They accept and echo Bush's spin that if we don't choose to fight Bush's way, we don't want to fight at all. For some reason they are unable to understand that selecting another path is not surrender, but may be the way to a quicker victory.

Iraq is right now a failed state. It is unable to protect itself, police itself, or deliver the bare minimum of public services. At this time, the most likely outcomes for Iraq are very unappealing to the US. A fractured confederacy, with a rich nation in the south, closely aligned with Iran, a poor anti-west nation in the middle and an expansive west friendly nation in the north, is currently being considered by some in the Iraqi government. This would not stop the fighting, but may reduce it in the short term. In the long run, this would assure a generation of continued fighting as the Sunni tried to recapture some oil wealth, the Kurds tried to expand into Iran, Syria, and Turkey, and the Shia tired to hold on to the southern oil.

The other likely option is an open civil war, that results in the southern 2/3 of the nation being aligned with Iran, and the Kurds creating their new land in the north. In either case, the Bush dream of a secular, democratic, west friendly Arab nation in the middle of the middle east is dead.

The Democrats see this, the Republicans don't. The only way to change these outcomes is to radically change the mission that we are currently on. If Bush still wants to create his paradise on the Tigris and Euphrates, his only choice is to change the mission and triple the US force in Iraq. While we may have the proper force size in place to perform a training mission, it is clear we lack the force to pacify Iraq.

Our new mission still needs to be the creation of a self sustaining independent state in the area that is currently Iraq. The idea of it being a west friendly democracy may have to be shelved. We have to force the Iraq's in the southern 2/3 of the country to stand on their own two feet. They are now use to using the US forces as a crutch, it has to be removed. Redeploying of the vast majority of the forces to the Kurdish north makes the most sense. We will have forces close enough to respond, but outside the lines of fire that the coming civil war will bring.


we have to bring our force size to half a million men, and go on an aggressive pacification mission.

But to stay the course just assures an ever accelerating growth in terrorist, and a slow bleeding of both the US forces, and US treasury in a battle that will never be won.

This is not surrendering in the war on terror, it is removing a weapon from the terrorist, and will allow us to focus on the real war on terror, and not this failing side show that the Bush administration created during a period of Neo-con delusion.

I would love the opportunity to read the whole report, as well as the other Iraq report that is floating around DC. I suspect that they tell a very sobering story. Bush has created a nightmare for our nation; a quagmire that we can not move through to victory, nor get out of without paying a high price. We will be paying the price, economically, politically, diplomaticly, and in the real war on terror for years after he leaves office. The only truth that is clearly evident is that the path to victory will not be found by following the current administration.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bush Orders The Release Of The NIE

Claiming he wants to prove that the media reports are incorrect, Bush has ordered the release of the NIE that indicates the Iraqi war has made us less secure.

We will quickly be able to determine if Bush is just blustering, or of the NIE is not as dire as early reports indicate. If Bush's claim is valid the report should come out very quickly, and without many redactions.

If the report comes out looking like a slice of swiss cheese, or if only selective portions are released, or if declassification drags on to the point where this becomes a non story, it is a safe bet the NIE is as bad as feared.

While we are releasing these reports, there may be a second report on Iraq that should also be in the public domain


The above link has been changed. It appears Bush may be trying to cherry pick the data that he wants to present.

President Bush on Tuesday announced that he will declassify parts of the National Intelligence Estimate, which reportedly concluded that the war with Iraq has worsened terrorism.
bold mine.


Olbermann's Comment On The Clinton Interview

Keith Olbermann, he is on a roll

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Liberal Media Is At It Again

Newsweek focuses the world onto the real important story.

Everyone else gets news, we get a puff piece. I guess they know we just can't handle the truth.


Well, Duh

Is anyone really surprised with this news about Sen. Allen (R-Va)?

"Allen said he came to Virginia because he wanted to play football in a place where 'blacks knew their place,'" said Dr. Ken Shelton, a white radiologist in North Carolina who played tight end for the University of Virginia football team when Allen was quarterback. "He used the N-word on a regular basis back then."

What a shocker, a man who loved to display the confederate flag, who had a noose hanging in his office is also a racist.


A Great Big Lie

One lie that George Bush and his followers have been spouting for the last four years is that the war in Iraq was making us safer. Prior to the war, a number of experts warned us that this war would further enrage segments of the population. European nations warned us that this would lead to the development of more terrorist. Only the Bush administration argued that this invasion would lead to a decline in terror.

Over the last few years, this has been the position of every report that has been published by experts not politically aligned with the Bush administration. Despite this the Bush administration has stayed on point, the war on Iraq is making us safer.

A new National intelligence Estimate has made it clear, the invasion of Iraq has made America less safe.

It concludes that, rather than contributing to eventual victory in the global counterterrorism struggle, the situation in Iraq has worsened the U.S. position, according to officials familiar with the classified document.

Here is where the big lie comes in. This report was finished in April. All sixteen agencies involved in producing intelligence for the US participated in and approved of the reports. It appears to make is quite clear that the war has been a true boon for Islamic terror groups world wide.

Yet, our President, and his echoing minions, kept claiming that this war has made America safer. Even now, with the news of this 6 month old report leaking out, they are busy with their spin, hoping that no one will notice that, even when their own intelligence service told them one thing, they continued to lie to the people of the US.

And, I bet the media will let them.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

New School?

You scored as New Democrat. New Democrats emphasize fiscal conservatism, and have a strong preference for the free market. They believe in small-scale programs that provide targetted help to those in need, while working with the business community.

New Democrat


Old School Democrat






Pro Business Republican


Foreign Policy Hawk


Socially Conservative Republican


What's Your Political Philosophy?
created with


Friday, September 22, 2006

It Has Been A Couple Of Weeks

A short vacation, a dead home computer and the usual mess that is life has interfered, but it's back.

A collection of good reads for your Friday. Just click over and enjoy.

No More Mister Nice Blog looks at Torture and our history in Vietnam.

A look at some hard working, god fearing, family loving people from Bubba the Suthern Penguin, Badtux's cousin.

Over at Orcinus, a look at the current battles inside the Moonie (Washington) Times.

A letter to Sen. Leiberman about his support from Amb. Mel Sembler is up at Jesus' General's blog.


One Great Video

Damn funny, but adult themed. You need to watch this one.

In addition the choral work is top rate.

Torture, A Compromise?

I have not had the time (or energy) to find the positives and negatives in the newest proposal, but from what others are saying, it isn't a real good deal.

The United States is the first nation to authorize Geneva violations! Hooray for us!

The Fraud Caucus Returns, Torturously

born to lose


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Interesting Statistic On Oversight

From 1995 to 2000, in that five year span, the Clinton White House had to respond to 1,050 subpoenas.

From 2000 to 2005, the Bush White House has been presented with none.

Just another reason why this administration is so bad, no one is watching them. As long as a rubber stamp republican congress is in place, there is every reason to expect more failure.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

CREW 20 Most Corrupt Members Of Congress

It is a bi-partisan list, with 17 Republicans and 3 Democrats in the list.

Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN)
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)
Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA)
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL)
Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL)
Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA)
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA)
Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV)
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)
Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA)
Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY)
Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC)
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA)

Not included in the list are 3 additional Republican Congressmen who were the standard bearers for corruption.

1. Tom DeLay (R-Tx), who was the head honcho when all the corruption bloomed. He is now out of congress, and awaiting trial on a collection of charges related to fundraising, and various frauds related to it.

2. Duke Cunningham (R-Ca) who is in jail for accepting millions in bribes in exchange for a number of defense contracts.

3. Bob Ney (R-Oh) who has pled guilty for corruption, but is refusing to resign from the House. It is interesting that his fellow Republicans are taking no action to kick him out. I guess they are so use to corruption and illegal activity that they don't view his acts as being egregious enough to deserve expulsion, Birds of a feather and all.


Three Terrorist Sentenced To Die

Amnesty International is outraged, citing irregularities in the trial and the condemned want their case to go to the international court.

Now for the real kicker.

Some of the more foolish blogers on the right are outraged.

Their hypocrisy is showing once again. These same bloggers have been working very hard to support Bush's efforts to establish a system of Kangaroo Courts to handle our terrorist. They feel the system that Bush has proposed is just fine. Another nation has a judicial system, that while it appears deeply flawed, appears to offer more protections that the one Bush wants, and they denounce it.

For those who have been insisting that international judicial standards be met, and that legal protections be put in place, this is just more confirmation that their position is fundamentally sound.

So, as we watch the continued debate over what forms of torture will be legal, if evidence collected by this torture can be used in court, and if the detained have any legal protections at all, each time someone on the right defends these ideals that debase our legal system, remember how some denounced them when the shoe was on the other foot.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Coup In Thailand?

The Prime Minister has declared a state of emergency

Tanks have moved to block the roads leading to governmental offices, and TV and radio programming has changed, including playing music that relates to past military governments.


Ye Have T' Talk T' Talk

Your Pirate Name Is...

Mad Jimmy Jailbird


The Torture Tango Continues

The White House has decided that they have no option but to try to work with the Republican Senators who appear to actually respect international treaties.

Not much is yet public, but the key points to focus on will be to see if the administration still want the CIA to have the ability to use torture, if the administration still wants legal immunity for the use torture, and if they still think that kangaroo courts are the proper legal direction for our nation to take.

Just a quick reminder on what is being debated.

sources have said those previously used include nakedness, prolonged sensory assault and deprivation, the imposition of "stress" positions, and water submersion to the verge of drowning. Bush has said none of those amounts to torture.

Bush thinks that a drowning a person is not torture? As I said before, how this is resolved will help define what our President stands for.


Monday, September 18, 2006

NATO Still Begging For Troops

Four more NATO troops were killed in Afghanistan today, while NATO's plea for more troops have, for the most part, gone unanswered.

Poland has hinted that they will add about 1,000 men to their current deployment of 10, as long as they have some say over where they get posted. Norway has refused to allow it troops to be deployed to the south. The rest of the membership has remained very quiet so far.

This included the US, who 1,300 men represent the sixth largest commitment of troops to the NATO force.

With the Taliban starting to make noise in the west, new forces must be found. If the nations of Europe can not be cajoled into adding forces, the US will have to do it.

This decline in the stability of Afghanistan is just one of the many toxic byproducts of the failed war in Iraq. The removal of US troops, money and interest there simply assured that the daunting task of getting Afghanistan up on it's feet would be vastly more difficult that it had to be.


The Pope Is 'Sorry'

That the rest of the world doesn't see things exactly as he does.

The Pope's speech in Germany last week, in which he quoted a medieval ruler who said Muhammad's innovations were "evil and inhuman"

The Pope infers that Islam is evil and inhuman, then when his statements is challenged, he doesn't apologize for the statement, but only for the upset his statement has caused.

These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought."

If they did not express his personal thought, why were they included in his comments without a clear denunciation of the tone of the quote. His initial statement, and the clarifications that follow make it appear that this Pope does subscribe to this point of view.

It is beyond argument that some Muslims are evil and inhuman. The same can be said about some members of any faith. The history of the Catholic church is awash in actions that have to be considered evil and inhuman. It is highly flawed to consider any faith by the action of the most objectionable of those of claim their action are driven by their beliefs.

Just as Christians don't want to be defined by Matthew Hale or Godfrey of Bouillon, defining Islam by Bin Laden or any number of other radical Muslims is a mistake that a Pope should be wise enough to avoid.

And when his wisdom fails him, he should then have the grace to offer a sincere apology that clearly separates him from the statements of the past.

The other religious wacks speak out.

"you and the West are doomed as you can see from the defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere. ... We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (killed by) the sword."

Islam forbids drinking alcohol and requires non-Muslims to pay a head tax to safeguard their lives if conquered by Muslims.

The Pope has sure done a great job of raising the dialog of the religious debate between Islam and Christianity, hasn't he.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Well, I Do Like Steak

But, I also like vegies.

You Are Beef

You're big, burly, and maybe even a little stinky. And no one's going to come between you and a good steak.
And you've probably never met a vegetable you like, unless fries and ketchup count.


Friday, September 15, 2006

What Our President Stands For.

The current fight in the Senate over the standards we are to establish for trying captured suspected terrorist is clearly defining what the president stands for.

First, he stands for torture. He wants to make sure that evidence that we obtain via torture is allowed in court. This is troubling on a couple of points. It makes it clear that we have used and will continue to use torture to get information. In addition, information gathered using torture is very unreliable, often people will admit to anything to get the abuse to stop.

Not only does he want to continue to use torture, and use evidence gathered by torture in trials, he wants to make sure the people who are doing the torture are protected from legal accountability. At one time in our history, people who were suspected of being involved in torture were refused admittance, or kicked out. We have expelled old men, 50 years removed from their crimes because at one time, long in the past, they participated in torture, now Bush want to give tortures exalted status of being above the law.

Second, he stands for Kangaroo Courts. Not only does he want to use evidence gathered using torture in courts, he wants to make it so a person being accused may not see the evidence against him, or discover who has presented evidence against him. This is a tactic straight out of the inquisition.

We have seen gross miscarriages of justice in our legal system with all the protections we currently have in place. It is frightening to consider just how much abuse of the truth can occur when there is absolutely no check of the truthfulness of the evidence the government is presenting. Under the Bush plan, a prosecutor can make up about anything, then claim that the information is to sensitive for the defense to view it.

Torture and Kangaroo Courts, if the Senate backs down, these too may be part the legacy of the worst president this nation has ever placed in the White House.


A Look At The Ongoing Failure In Afghanistan

We screwed up in Afghanistan. We went in on the cheap and we subcontracted much of the efforts to capture the Taliban and Bin Laden. The end result was most of the Taliban were able to fade back into the population, and Al Qaida was able to live to fight another day.

We then didn't do much to secure the newly liberated nation, we didn't do much to revive the economy, and we pulled out most of our expert troops to go over into Iraq.

Predictably, Iraq went very bad, and we lacked the man power to even maintain our limited presence in Afghanistan. We asked NATO to step in and help us out. They agreed, and have put about 20,000 men (and women) on the ground to help us out. During this time, the Taliban was able to regroup. Now the NATO force in Afghanistan is suffering almost as many casualties as the much larger US force in Iraq, and the Taliban are again a viable threat.

The NATO commanders can see their situation is not very favorable, and have asked for reinforcements. So far the response from the European nations has been very negative.

Afghanistan is a classic example of how Bush has acted all of his adult life. He tries a project or new business. He eventually destroys what he was trying to build up. The cycle ends with Bush running off to something else, and someone else has to come in and clean up his latest disaster.

Right now we are asking Europe to clean up our mess. As the situation grows worse, I have to wonder if they will be willing to continue to do this or if they will end up handing this mission back to the US armed forces.

UPDATE - 15 Sep.
Taleban 'seize Afghan district'

The Taleban have ousted Afghan security forces from a district headquarters in the western Farah province after days of heavy fighting, police say. The forces were besieged and support was unable to reach them, Farah police chief Sayed Aqa Saqib told the BBC.

Most of the previous Taliban action has been in the South and East. This indicates that the Taliban have now been able to open up another front. The need for 2,500 more men may have just tripled.


Jim (R-SC) Hearts Hillary (D-NY)

Or at least he admires one of the legislative strategies she used recently.

When Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach's nomination to head the FDA hit the Senate, she (and another Senator) placed a hold on it. She made it clear that the FDA had to quit stalling on the Plan B drug, and either endorse or reject the findings of its experts. The end result was Plan B was approved for over the counter sales, but only to persons eighteen or over.

Jim DeMint (R-SC) saw this and has decided that it was so cool he had to give it a try. He is now talking about trying to put a hold on Dr. Eschenbach's nomination.

Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, will block Dr. von Eschenbach's nomination unless the F.D.A. takes steps to remove the abortion drug RU-486 from the market, said Wesley M. Denton, Mr. DeMint's press secretary.

There is one major difference that should be pointed out to Sen. DeMint. Sen. Clinton (D-NY) was trying to get the FDA to follow it's own medical experts recommendations. Jim is trying to get the FDA to override the recommendations of the FDA experts. Where one Senator was demanding that the FDA quit playing political games with our heath issues, our Senator is demanding that the FDA make decisions based not on the consensus of experts but on his political goals.

Very disappointing, but in the case of Sen. DeMint, not at all unexpected.


Another Corrupt DC Republican Confesses.

One of Jack Abramoff's most corrupt and effective Republican minions is about to cop a plea.

Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, is expected to plead guilty as early as Friday to at least one criminal charge in an election-year congressional corruption investigation, Republican officials said Thursday night.

Ney, whose ties with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff have long been under scrutiny by prosecutors, has consistently denied all wrongdoing.

Another small step in the right direction.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Interesting Note On The RI Results

Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) survived a primary scare. The Moderate (or RINO) was challenged by Stephen Laffey, a well funded challenger endorsed by the Club For Growth. Polling just prior to the election had Laffey up, but the final results produced a Chafee win by 8 points.

Republicans credit their high tech voter identification program for being able to reach out and find just about every likely republican vote, including independents and democrats, in an area and turn them out on election day. In this election that feel that they were able to produce every vote that could be produced.

The republican effort produced about 34,000 votes for Chafee, and Laffey scooped up about 30,000. A very hotly contested race, a race where the national republican organization pumped in millions of dollars and flew in almost 100 experts to get out the vote produced 65,000 voters. About the same number of votes that Sheldon Whitehouse pulled in in his uncontested primary on the Democratic side.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What is The Mission?

In the past few days a couple of news stories have raised an interesting question about what our leaders in Iraq consider the mission to be. The first was an intelligence report on the insurgency in the west of Iraq. It clearly states that we lack the troop strength to counter the rebel efforts, and have lost the initiative in the area.

The second was a statement by the local commander in the west of Iraq. He stated that he didn't need more troops. He views his mission as a training mission, and not a pacification mission.

His mission is to train, he said. If his mission was to change and that to be to win, then his metrics, his troop numbers would have to change.

I would have thought that winning would be mission number one. A peaceful, stable platform would make training much easier, and make recruiting and retention much more successful. The fact that he doesn't consider beating the insurgents part of his mission does explaining how the military leadership can continue to claim they don't need more troops, even while the situation in Iraq continues to decay.

So today, another 60 + bodies have been recovered, more US troops died, and the administration and the leaders of the military claim they don't need more troops in country.

At least now we know why, they are not fighting this war to win, they are just trying to limit the decay while they train Iraqi troops.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Siberia Is Melting

Watch it, and ask what our nation is doing.

Another indicator that all is clearly not well.

Saddam Was A Threat?

Bush is still claiming he was, but the truth is he was totally neutered.

He has no chemical weapons, no bio weapons, no nuclear program at all.

He was as great a threat as a de-clawed, de-fanged, paraplegic cat. He couldn't really move, he had no weapons of value, and seemed to enjoy spending his time soaking up the sun and pretending to be regal.

I was opposed to our action in Iraq long before the bombs started to fall. I was confident that Saddam was greatly weakened, and unable to strike out. My position was that he had a few hold over weapons from the war with Iran, some small scale lab based production of both chemical and bio weapons, and his nuclear program was in stasis.

My limited estimate of his capacity, a capacity that offered no real threat to the US, was a gross overstatement of what Saddam possessed.

He had nothing, He had no means to produce anything, and had no active plans to produce anything.

And Bush says he was a threat. A man with no weapons, no way to deliver any weapons even if he had a few, and clearly no real desire to find either a weapon or a delivery system is a threat. Exactly how is he a threat? Is he going to call you names, or not play nice? Are these valid reasons to invade another nation?

This constant lying and fear mongering is all Bush has left to defend his indefensible position. Bush's actions have painted him into a corner likes Saddam's in early 2003. It is clear that the Emperor has no cloths, but he hopes that if he keeps up the stately procession down the street no one will notice.


Monday, September 11, 2006

5 Years Later

The person most responsible for the attacks on the US is still at large, and his trail is stone cold.

Afghanistan, the nation we 'defeated' over 4 years ago is now more dangerous for western troops than Iraq.

Al Qaida has evolved from a single terrorist group to an ideology that is inspiring wack jobs world wide.

Iraq is so unstable that a day when less that 50 people are killed by various military means is considered a peaceful one.

Bush has now admitted that Saddam had nothing to do with Al Qaida and it's attack on the US. Cheney has admitted that the administration did nothing to plan for an insurgency yet they both say that they would do it all again. They continue to blame those who point out their almost countless mistakes claiming that critics, and not the administration's own incompetence is helping the enemy.

The real tragedy is, in 2002 Afghanistan may have been a nation that could have been fundamentally changed. The people had suffered for over a generation, Civil war, war lords, a narco economy, a theocracy had all washed over their land. They were ripe to try anything that showed real promise.

But, we decided to try to change them on the cheap. We didn't commit the forces needed to bring stability and make the various war lords impotent. We didn't infuse the capital necessary to show real improvements to the people of the land, we didn't even hang around long enough to capture the leaders of the very group we were at war with.

The last five years have presented the us with a series of gross failures. Failures that have weakened us militarily, diplomatic, economically, and most frighteningly of all, weakened our very liberty. Today, while our nation reflects on out losses, the one that hurts us most are our lost opportunities.

We could have worked on developing our democratic state in Afghanistan, but made the choice to put it on the back burner. We could have focused on capturing Bin Laden, instead of forgetting about him. We could have focused on containing Saddam, rather than removing him, an act that has radically increased the power of Iran, and effectively neutered us.

The number of other, better paths we could have taken are almost countless.

Today, I will not only think about the losses of September 11, 2001, but of all the other losses that have resulted from the panicked and foolish reactions of the people who are currently leading our land.


Friday, September 08, 2006

I Had To Take It

I am nerdier than 54% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!


When The President Lies

Your are left to ponder a few issues.

A couple of days ago Bush came out and admitted that the CIA was controlling a few black hole prisons around the world, but that the fourteen captives we had been housing and torturing there were now being moved to Cuba.

He defended the use of these black holes, and of torture by claiming that they have been a useful tool in the fight against a battle tactic.

The trouble is, much of what he said was not true.

President Bush said the detention system had used lawful interrogation techniques, was fully described to select members of Congress and led directly to the capture of a string of terrorists over the past four years.

A review of public documents and interviews with American officials raises questions about Mr. Bush's claims on all three fronts


Mr. Bush described the interrogation techniques used on the C.I.A. prisoners as having been "safe, lawful and effective," ................ Congressional officials said on Thursday that they had not received documents from the administration explaining the legal underpinnings of the program.


Mr. Bush's claims that his administration fully briefed some members of Congress on details of the secret detention program.

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on Wednesday that the Bush administration had "withheld details of the C.I.A. detention and interrogation program from the Congressional intelligence committees."


Mr. Bush said it was Mr. Zubaydah who disclosed to C.I.A. interrogators that Mr. Mohammed was the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks and often used the alias Mukhtar, sometimes spelled Muktar.

"This was a vital piece of intelligence that helped our intelligence community pursue K.S.M.,"Mr. Bush said, referring to the terror suspect by his initials.

The report of the Sept. 11 commission said that the C.I.A. knew of the moniker for Mr. Mohammed months before the capture of Mr. Zubaydah.

Now we consider these questions. Did the President know he was lying to the American public? Did he think he was telling the truth, but it was his staff who created these lies? Did his staff think that these details were the truth, and various departments have lied to the White House?

Or, do they just not care about the truth?

It is a sad day when our own government has to be fact checked about almost every claim they make. It is an even sadder day when those checks prove that out government is incapable of telling the truth, and instead spreads political fantasy.

I now wonder what lies will be told Monday night.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Little Good News. A Lot Of Bad News.

First the good news, President Bush has announced that the fourteen captives that we have been keeping in secret prisons will be moved to Cuba, and the US army has announced that it's new handbook will forbid the use of some forms of torture.

Now the bad news.

First, this is an admission that we did have illegal black holes where we could keep people captive for as long as we wished and do to them whatever we wanted without any oversight.

Second, we will continue to use these prisons. The President indicated that he liked the ideals of having black holes, and will work to keep them active.

Third, the restriction on torture don't apply to the CIA, who happen to run the black hole prisons. The results of the Bush's announced plan would allow the CIA to continue to torture captives at hidden prisons outside the US.

Fourth, Bush has proposed a new bill that makes it clear that he knows his anti-terror efforts are illegal. He is now pressing the congress to make these illegal acts legal retroactively. He broke the law, he knows we has and is still breaking the law. Instead of behaving in a legal manor, he wants to change the law.

When we abandon our core beliefs in the effort to fight those who we oppose, they have won. It is clear that George Bush is willing to destroy the basic fiber of the nation in his panicked and terrified reactions in his flailing efforts to protect our nation.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Down 9.5%

That is the impact that the last 6 years has had on household income in SC.

The Detroit Free press has a story up on income growth, and pfd report showing the current Michigan trends in median income. While SC did fare poorly, some will take comfort in the fact that 7 other states did do worse that we did (of course that means that 42 states did better).

Now for a quick math refresher. Median is the middle figure on a list of a set group, the point where half are on one side and half are on the other. The average is derived by adding up the sum total of the participants and dividing by the number in the sample. This detail is important, let me explain.

Here is a sample of 7 incomes showing why we have to look at the median, and not the average to get the real picture of how the economy is performing.


12,500. 13,000. 13,500. 14,500. 20,000. 21,000. 25,000.

In this sample is median is 14,500, the average is 17,071.


12,000. 12,250. 13,000. 13,100. 19,500. 21,100. 35,000.

The median in this fake sample is now 13,100 down 9.6%, but the average is now 17992.00 up 10.5%. In a large sample the median is the far better place to get a feel for what is happening to the average Joe and Jane in South Carolina. The concentration of income and wealth in the top 5% can give the impression of growth if you just look at averages.

It can also be a good confirmation that out politicians are out of touch. President Bush has recently advised other republicans that they should run on the economy. South Carolina's Governor Sanford's early reelection adds are touting his economic success in job development.

If Governor Sanford thinks that a decline of almost 10% is a positive result, I am terrified to think about what he considers a failure.

A hat tip to Shakespeare's Sister


Another Lie From Iraq

This weekend there was some big news from Iraq. Yet another number two man, a major leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq (a group that did not exist until well after the US invasion of Iraq) was arrested. There was satisfaction expressed, and the implication that this would lead to the weakening of the insurgency and civil wars.

This got big play on the national news (big play for a holiday weekend at least). A couple of days later, the truth comes out.

The U.S. military said today the arrest of al-Qaida in Iraq's second in command took place in June


Iraq's national security adviser, Mouwafak al-Rubaie, announced al-Saeedi's arrest on Sunday, saying it had occurred a few days earlier. But Caldwell said that it was only the permission to announce the arrest that had been given a few days earlier.

Caldwell called the arrest the most significant since al-Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike on June 7.

While Zarqawi's death and al-Saeedi's arrest are good news, the last 3 months in Iraq should make it clear to everyone that killing off the leadership will not directly lead to reducing the level of violence.

Sunday, we are told that we have another clear sign that progress is being made. Another high ranking official is removed, and a small step to peace has been made. This is carried as part of the lead in the national news. Three days later we learn that this breaking news, is 90 days old. It should also confirm what all the past proclamation of arrests and deaths have taught us.

He was arrested seventy five days ago, and the last seventy five days have been bloodier that most of the last five years. This is the lesson, that we should learn, but the way this information was reported, it is one that most people will miss. Those who saw the news Sunday will continue to think that progress has been made, not knowing that this arrest proves just the opposite.


Since I Got To Go On Vacation

My computer has decided that it wanted to go on one too.

I got home, tried to fire it up, and nothing happened.

Well not nothing, the fans turn on, then nothing. This is going to make the next few days very interesting, I have never seen a computer do anything like this.

In other computer related battles, the modem replacement on my Mother-In-Laws 3 week old machine is an ongoing joy, I am now waiting for the third shipment of a part or software in this project. A project that should have taken 30 minutes is now at 1 week and counting.


Friday, September 01, 2006

A Labor Day Break

Our often delayed attempts to go on vacation have ended. Labor day weekend is here and I am taking off.

I doubt I will post much, if anything, until next week.