Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Just Another Reason Why

It should be clear to everyone that Iraq is lost.

Iraq police forces are Under the Militias Sway.

Posters celebrating Moqtada al-Sadr, head of the Mahdi Army militia, dot the building's walls. The police chief sometimes remarks that Shiite militias should wipe out all Sunnis. Visitors to this violent neighborhood in the Iraqi capital whisper that nearly all the police officers have split loyalties.


These are some of the guys Bush says have to stand up before we leave. I wonder if their ability to ambush and kill US troops means that they are now ready to serve alone.

one rainy night this month, the Sholeh police set up an ambush and killed Army Cpl. Kenny F. Stanton Jr., a 20-year-old budding journalist, his unit said. At the time, Stanton and other members of the unit had been trailing a group of Sholeh police escorting known Mahdi Army members.



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What Else Has Karen Floyd's (R-SC)

Sponsor been up to?

Well Howard Rich has been a busy man.

There is a law on the ballot in four states that says if I want to open a hog farm or a chemical plant next door to your house and you don't want me to do that, then YOU have to PAY ME not to -- you have to pay me ALL THE MONEY I MIGHT HAVE MADE.


It appears he has been busy spreading his views of libertarianism and good government nation wide.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Not All Republicans Are Racist

but, it sure seems like all racist are Republicans.

"Rep. Arza called Rudy Crew the N word, a racial epithet unacceptable in our community," said Sen. Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville, chairman for the group of civic, religious and political leaders. "This behavior cannot and will not be tolerated, and we are demanding that the Florida House of Representatives conduct a full and thorough investigation immediately."


And the excuse making has already begun.

According to a report in The Miami Herald, Arza has apologized, said he had been drinking at the time and would seek counseling.


I suspect that In Vino Veritas applies here. If this ends up causing Rep. Arza (R-Fl) any real trouble, I think he should apply to work for George Felix 'Macaca' Allan (R-Va), I bet Felix would love to work with this soul mate.

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100

Not unexpected, in-fact numerical milestones are not really significant, but still deeply depressing.

The U.S. military death toll in Iraq for October climbed to 100 on Monday


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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Election Round-Up - Know Your Foe

Clink on the links below for information on that race.

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

--AZ-01: Rick Renzi

--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth

--CA-04: John Doolittle

--CA-11: Richard Pombo

--CA-50: Brian Bilbray

--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave

--CO-05: Doug Lamborn

--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell

--CT-04: Christopher Shays

--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan

--FL-16: Joe Negron

--FL-22: Clay Shaw

--ID-01: Bill Sali

--IL-06: Peter Roskam

--IL-10: Mark Kirk

--IL-14: Dennis Hastert

--IN-02: Chris Chocola

--IN-08: John Hostettler

--IA-01: Mike Whalen

--KS-02: Jim Ryun

--KY-03: Anne Northup

--KY-04: Geoff Davis

--MD-Sen: Michael Steele

--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht

--MN-06: Michele Bachmann

--MO-Sen: Jim Talent

--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns

--NV-03: Jon Porter

--NH-02: Charlie Bass

--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson

--NM-01: Heather Wilson

--NY-03: Peter King

--NY-20: John Sweeney

--NY-26: Tom Reynolds

--NY-29: Randy Kuhl

--NC-08: Robin Hayes

--NC-11: Charles Taylor

--OH-01: Steve Chabot

--OH-02: Jean Schmidt

--OH-15: Deborah Pryce

--OH-18: Joy Padgett

--PA-04: Melissa Hart

--PA-07: Curt Weldon

--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick

--PA-10: Don Sherwood

--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee

--TN-Sen: Bob Corker

--VA-Sen: George Allen

--VA-10: Frank Wolf

--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick

--WA-08: Dave Reichert







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No Rugby????

Football

92%

Soccer

83%

Softball

75%

Volleyball

50%

Track

50%

Field hockey

42%

Golf

42%

Tennis

33%

Swimming

25%

Basketball

25%

Ice Hockey

25%

Baseball

17%

Lacrosse

8%

What sport are you meant for??
created with QuizFarm.com



You scored as Football. You should play football- its the most popular high school and college sport, and creates a ton of school spirit.


What sport are you meant for??
created with QuizFarm.com


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Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday's Links

Just click over and check them out.


Vanity Press has noticed that the ABC News is now making stuff up. And you thought only Fox did that. The Washington Post also covers this, but does a much better job.


Why North Carolina's Nathan Tabor is a absolute fool is explained at Outside The Tent.


Bob Geiger knows who supports vets, and who doesn't.




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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Americia's 10 Worse Congress Persons

While I can think of a few more who we might want to add, I don't think we can remove a single one of these from the list.

1. The Highway Robber (R-Il)

2. The Dictator (R-Wi)

3. Mr. Pork (R-Ak)

4. The Bribe Taker (D-La)

5. The King of Payoffs (R-Ca)

6. Mr. Bigotry (R-Co)

7. Enemy of the Earth (R-Ca)

8. The Conspiracy Nut (R-Pa)

9. Bin Laden's Best Friend (R-Ky)

10. The Christian Soldier (R-Co)

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Fun With Tax Numbers

I was just looking at some tax cut numbers from the tax policy institute, and the impact of the Bush tax cut.

If you earned over $1,000,000.00 last year, (putting you in a group that includes less that 00.2% of the tax paying population, about 280,000 people total) 45.8% of the Bush tax refunds landed in your bracket. In clear language two tenths of a percent of the population is getting over fourtyfive percent of the tax cut.


If you earned between $500,000.00 and $999,999.00 (600,000 in your group, about 00.4% of the tax paying population), your group is getting about 10.8% of the refunded taxes.


For those of us earning between $200,000.00 and $499,999.00 (3.5 million people here, 02.5% of the tax paying population), this group scooped up about 17.4% of the refunds.

Those who are limping along earning between $100,000.00 and 199,999.00, ( almost 10% of the pax paying population 14,000,000 people) you group saw about 14.3% of the Bush tax refunds.

The rest of you, everyone earning less that $100,000, the other 87% of the population, you can share the remaining 12% of the Bush tax refund.

What a deal.

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New Jersey -Gay Couples Get Legal Union

The Supreme Court of New Jersey Has ruled that homosexual couples must have access to some form of legal union.

In a decision likely to stoke the contentious election-year debate over same-sex marriage, the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that state lawmakers must provide the rights and benefits of marriage to gay and lesbian couples.

The high court on Wednesday gave legislators six months to either change state marriage laws to include same-sex couples, or come up with another mechanism, such as civil unions, that would provide the same protections and benefits.


This is a very positive step, and it opens the door to what I think is the ideal solution.

New Jersey should get rid of marriage. They should revise their law to give all couples a civil union, and if a couple wants to get married, they can go to their church and get married. The state should only endorse the civil aspect of the union, it is the church's job to seal the religious aspect of the joining.

I know it will not even be mentioned, but it is the solution that they, and every state, should be looking at.


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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Joe Wilson (R-SC) Incredibly Dishonest

Or incredibly stupid? You make the choice.

From The State.

My view is that there is a level of lawlessness [in Iraq], but that's not equivalent to chaos. I just understand that there is a level of lawlessness; there is a level of lawlessness here in the United States. It shocks me every day that there are shootings even in my neighborhood in Lexington County.


A tip of the hat to Not Very Bright, who noticed the same absurdity.


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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Iraqi Forces To Take The Lead Next Year

This is according to Gen. George Casey, who it appears learned truthfulness at the knee of Karl Rove.

The top U.S. commander in Iraq said Tuesday that it will take another 12 to 18 months or so for Iraqi security forces to be ready to take over in the country.


Now, if you believe this, I have some land just a few miles southeast of Myrtle Beach I would like to sell to you.

Why do I say this?

Consider Amara.

This is a city in the relatively peaceful south. A large city, maybe 300,000 people, who the Iraqi government has security control over. A city that was captured in a matter of hours by 900 mmebers of the Mahdi Army, a shia militia.

This is the Iraqi force that is ready to be in charge of their own security?

Now lets consider what may have been the flash point that incited the Mahdi Army to act.

The Mahdi Army militia engaged in a military operation in Amara, killing 4 policemen (presumably actually members of the rival Badr Corps militia that was trained in Iran). They also attacked a police station with bombs and mortar shells, causing extensive damage to it. Al-Hayat reports that [Ar.] the renewed violence was set off when the body of the brother (named Husain al-Bahadili) of a major Mahdi Army leader was found. It was headless and showed signs of torture. He had earlier been detained or kidnapped by the police (which has been infiltrated by the rival Badr Corps militia).


So, the Iraqi security forces are infiltrated by members of one Shia militia, who are using their power to take out members of another militia. The attacked militia decided to fight back and was able to force the official security force out of the city.

For another reason why this claim of Gen. Casey is an obvious lie, just watch this BBC video.

The disconnect between reality, and what our officials are presenting is amazing.

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Lindsay Graham, He Talks The Talk

But he just can't walk the walk.

Senator Graham (R-SC) is a member of the gang of fourteen, he stood with John McCain in objecting to the Presidents ideas about torture and legal protections, he is even now questioning the state of affairs in Iraq.

"We're on the verge of chaos, and the current plan is not working," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in an Associated Press interview. U.S. and Iraqi officials should be held accountable for the lack of progress, said Graham, a Republican who is a frequent critic of the administration's policies.

Asked who in particular should be held accountable - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, perhaps, or the generals leading the war - Graham said: "All of them. It's their job to come up with a game plan" to end the violence.


The trouble is, Lindsay is all talk, and no action. He like to think of himself as a voice of reason, a sane nonpartisan Senator in a hyper partisan DC. The truth is, while he claims to stand for his principals, when the chips are down, he folds. He (and McCain) folded, and gave the President the power to torture, to imprison for ever, to arrest without judicial review, then claimed this is what they wanted all along.

Sen. Graham (R-SC) now wants to find someone to blame for this failed invasion. He just needs to look in a mirror. He, and all the other Senate republicans (and a few democrats), have failed to perform any oversight. They have refused to do their job, and assure that the administration was staffed with qualified people, they have refused to look into shortcomings in performance, they have excused failures great and small.

He, like every Republican in D,C has been a rubberstamp for the policies, plans, and schemes of the Bush administration. While he likes to pretend that he has stood apart, the truth is, he has talked the talk, but when pressed, he was unable to walk the walk. When it was time for the hard choice, when it was time to take actions, Lindsay couldn't do it, he fell in line and joined the other Republicans in DC and rubberstamped whatever he was told to stamp.


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Monday, October 23, 2006

Iraq, The Truth And Our Options

The truth is, Iraq is, right now, a failed state. The government is unable to provide, security (a must see video here), services or opportunity to it's population. In the parts of the nation where we have turned over control to the local force, the various Iraqi militias are far more effective in combat. Iraq is right now a lawless zone, where might is right, and there is little or no hope for improvement.

Stated simply, Iraq is lost. There will be tens, if not hundreds of thousands more dead before a new national form is developed. The only thing left to debate is who those dead will be, in what manner of conflict will those deaths occur, and will these dead continue to include notable numbers of Americans.

To try to continue on the path we have been on for the last 4 years is utter stupidity. Right now we are sitting in the middle of a multi faceted civil war/insurrection, and are the target of everyone. We lack the power to effect change, and our presence continues to inflame segments of the population into taking up arms. If we want to try and salvage something, or if we simply feel a moral responsibility to try to fix what we have broken, we must select one of these two new paths.

We can either redeploy the troops, or triple the number we have in place.

By redeployig our forces, we can assist the Iraqi forces when they are in dire straights, but they will be forced to take over all of the regular patrolling. The police work, the dodging of IEDs. The living every day with a target on our backs will end. The Iraqi government will have to get serious about finding accommodation between the various factions, and will have to take responsibility for the day to day improvement of their nation.

With forces in the Kurdish areas, and in Kuwait (and maybe 1 small base in an isolated area in the center of the nation) we could deploy quickly, but would be out of sight for the vast majority of Iraqis.

By doing this, we do maintain ties to the government, and will have the opportunity to exert some influence in the tenor and direction of the government(s) that finally evolves in the area now called Iraq. There are risks. This action would most likely allow for an increase in domestic fighting, and may directly lead to open civil war (as opposed to the covert one that is occurring right now). The advantage to this plan is it will greatly reduce US lose of life. The disadvantage is, it may greatly increase the lose of Iraqi lives.

If we want to have more control, if we want to continue to have the final voice in Iraq, if we still dream of a US client state in the middle of the Middle East, we have to follow the second option. We have to find another 300,000 combat troops and insert them into the field at once. Overwhelming force is not needed to defeat a third rate army, but overwhelming numbers are needed to police and lockdown a restive population.

It will take time, my guess is 6-8 years, and money, again guessing at 3 trillion dollars, but an occupation force of half a million men should be able to bring calm to the nation. This calm would allow US to go back and try again at the rebuilding of the nation, and may allow us to get some form of secular west friendly government.

I have no idea where we will find another 30,000 men to place in Iraq, much less another 300,000, but that is what it will take.

We have to abandon the absurdity of 'stay for course', or 'adapt and adjust', or what ever Bush wants to call it today. It has failed, and there is no reasonable prospect that the spilling of more Iraqi and American blood on this path will make any positive difference. If we refuse to demand change, we will just continue to see the U.S. Death Toll continue to rise, The Iraqi death toll continue to rise, the cost continue to rise and another years will pass.

Those are our options, now make your pick.

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President Bush Lies, Again

Just check out the video.

"Well, hey, listen, we’ve never been 'stay the course,' George.


In case you need reminding, here are just a few examples of Bush calling for us to 'stay the course'

This administration has lied so much that they no longer even know what the truth is.


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Saturday, October 21, 2006

One Of A Kind

But, I could have told you that.


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are:
0
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?






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Friday, October 20, 2006

A Friday Tradition

A few post that you may enjoy, click over and check them out.


Badtux The Snarky Penguin asks, why did Israel invade Lebanon?


A wonderful post asking who are we, is up at Not Very Bright.


Over at Crooks and Liars, part three of the documentry celebrating the sacrifices of the 101st fighting keyboarders is linked.

More Cheery Iraqi News

In the last 24 hours a couple of events occurred that just further confirm that without a major change in direction, Iraq is lost. In the south, the militia of Muqtada al-Sadr has captured the city of Amarah.

The Mahdi Army fighters stormed three main police stations Friday morning, planting explosives that flattened the buildings, residents said.

About 800 black-clad militiamen with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers were patrolling city streets in commandeered police vehicles, eyewitnesses said. Other fighters had set up roadblocks on routes into the city and sound trucks circulated telling residents to stay indoors.


This looks and feels like a drill, testing what works and what doesn't. They will not hold the city this time, but the lessons learned here will be filed away for the day they are ready to make a major move.

In the west, rebel forces in Ramadi felt secure enough to stage a military parade in the center of town.

the masked gunmen staged a military-like parade on the street, carrying banners exhorting people to support an Islamic state in Iraq announced this week by a militant group. They said mosques in the city used loudspeakers to rally support for the new state.

The Mujahedeen Shura Council - an umbrella organization of insurgent groups that includes al-Qaida in Iraq - said Sunday in a videotape that it has established an Islamic state made up of six provinces including Baghdad.


The lead item in the news from Iraq was a series of bombings in Mosul. One extra point need to be made about this event.

The US military withdrew 3,000 troops from Mosul to send to Baghdad, where 15,000 US soldiers are now engaged in Operation Forward Together. Guerrillas in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city with a population of some 1.8 million, some 80% of them Sunni Arab, have taken advantage of the draw-down of US troops there to multiply the number of their attacks on police and the institutions of the new government.


If we continue to stay this course, our loss is assured.

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Anti-Tax Absurdity

I don't know anyone who likes to pay taxes. They are necessary but, like the power bill, always unwelcome. That said, the behavior of anti-tax politicians and groups oftentimes prove themselves to be simply detached from reality, or just plain greedy.

Thomas Kean Jr (R-NJ) is running for the Senate, and is, like every republican that can be found, complaining about the tax burden he carries. When asked about income taxes he said "I think my tax burden is too high. I think everybody's tax burden is too high."

In 2005 he earned $202,488.00, and paid a total of $8,146.00, a whopping 4% effective tax rate.

To many who denounce taxes are like Kean Jr., they do it simply out of reflex.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More Proof That Cheney Is A Lying SOB

Or, just as dumb as a post.

He actually said this about Iraq. "If you look at the general overall situation, they're doing remarkably well."

We have ten men killed today, 67(?) killed this month already, maybe 650,000 Iraqis dead, last month we have 53 killed, over 750 injured, and in the last 24 months the Iraqi police have taken 12,000 casualties.

Yet this lying sack of human waste still thinks (or claims) that 'they're doing remarkably well'.

If he peddled this lie anywhere but on the Rush Limbaugh show, I suspect he would have been laughed out of the building, but since it was just one lying sack of human waste talking to another, it was unchallenged.


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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why We Are Losing

Heck, it is the reason why we are in Iraq in the first place.

Our leaders are freaking idiots.

FOR the past several months, I've been wrapping up lengthy interviews with Washington counterterrorism officials with a fundamental question: "Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?"

{snip}

But so far, most American officials I've interviewed don't have a clue. That includes not just intelligence and law enforcement officials, but also members of Congress who have important roles overseeing our spy agencies. How can they do their jobs without knowing the basics?


Someone should buy these clowns a program.

Take Representative Terry Everett, a seven-term Alabama Republican who is vice chairman of the House intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical intelligence.

"Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?" I asked him
Mr. Everett responded with a low chuckle. He thought for a moment: "One's in one location, another's in another location. No, to be honest with you, I don't know. I thought it was differences in their religion, different families or something."

To his credit, he asked me to explain the differences. I told him briefly about the schism that developed after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, and how Iraq and Iran are majority Shiite nations while the rest of the Muslim world is mostly Sunni. "Now that you've explained it to me," he replied, "what occurs to me is that it makes what we're doing over there extremely difficult, not only in Iraq but that whole area."

Representative Jo Ann Davis, a Virginia Republican who heads a House intelligence subcommittee charged with overseeing the C.I.A.'s performance in recruiting Islamic spies and analyzing information, was similarly dumbfounded when I asked her if she knew the difference between Sunnis and Shiites.


The lack of understanding is just dumbfounding. We have been 'at war' in this region for 5 years now, and our leaders still don't know the players involved.

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How To Dispose Of A Bad Seed

One of the real difficulties that both political parties have is how to handle a corrupt member of congress. We hold that a person is innocent till proven guilty. This means that, with the ethics committee's currently being useless, we must allow the legal process to run its course before the congress can take any long term action.

But that doesn't mean that the voting public, and even the local party, should not take action.

Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) appears to be not only a corrupt member of the house, but a very inept corrupt member of the house. He is accuse of talking bribes, and has been caught with tens of thousands of dollars hidden in his home freezer. He is only months away from going to court, and by this time next years will most likely be sitting in a cell.

Yet, he is running for re-election.

But the fact that he is running doesn't mean that he should get anyone's support.

Last week, the Louisiana's Democratic Central Committee refused to endorse Jefferson, and instead recommended Karen Carter for the seat he currently holds.

An eight-term Democratic Louisiana congressman whose Capitol Hill office was raided earlier this year as part of a bribery investigation failed Saturday to win the endorsement of the state's Democratic Party.

Rep. William Jefferson was passed over by the party's State Central Committee in favor of state Rep. Karen Carter.


It is a small step, and one that may only have a limited impact on Jefferson's attempt at getting reelected, but it was the right step.



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Monday, October 16, 2006

Nuclear Evidence Found

Air samples taken after the N. Korean test have been reported to have found radioactivity.

Air samples gathered last week contain radioactive materials that confirm that North Korea conducted an underground nuclear explosion


The same statement confirmed a yield of less than 1 kiloton, a very small explosion.

One of the realities of nuclear weapons is, it is more difficult to develop small yield weapons than the larger ones. The low level yield indicates one of two options, either the test was a failure, or N. Korea is trying to develop low yield nuclear weapons. Since even suitcase nucs are expected to yield up to 2 kilotons, (the US verion of this, the 'backback nuc' was expected to yeild a 1 kiloton blast.), an explosion yield at this level clearly looks like a failure.



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If You Have Time For A Good Laugh


You should go visit this Michigan blog complaining about the upholding of science standards in Michigan public schools, and then hop over to Dispatches From the Culture Wars, where Ed performs a very thorough dissection of the grossly flawed ideas that are argued.

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New Book List


It had been pointed out that I was more than a little behind in keeping up the book list.

So I updated it. It is on the right hand side, just below the links.


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Friday, October 13, 2006

A Few Post Worth You Time

Click on over and check them out.

A quick Korean History lesson is offered by Badtux, the Snarky Penguin

Over at Informed Comment, a review of the day in Iraq, including the Calls for Troop Withdrawal, and the Lancet story

John in DC, at AMERICAblog admits, it is all a gay plot, or maybe Jewish.



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Bob Ney (R-Oh) Makes Guilty Plea

After admitting over a month ago that, yes, he did accept bribes from Jack Abramoff, Bob Ney has preformed the act official in court, and pled quilty. He could face up to ten years in jail.

Now we are left to wonder, is he still going to refuse to resign from congress? Will the leadership ask him to resign, or will they continue to refuse to do this? Or, will Bob try to be the first man to perform his congressional duties from a federal pen.

Republican corruption, it's not a crime, it's a lifestyle.

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So, How Is It Going In Iraq?

The short answer, we have lost.

Two bits of news should make that perfectly clear. Lest start with British General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the United Kingdom's Army.

He is warning that Iraq could break the British army, and points out that

the continuing presence of British troops "exacerbates the security problems" in Iraq


The we hear that the George Bush appointed committee headed by Bush 41 loyalist James Baker has ruled out the prospect for victory.

A commission formed to assess the Iraq war and recommend a new course has ruled out the prospect of victory for America, according to draft policy options shared with The New York Sun by commission officials.


We have lost, what we determine now is the nature of the lose. For those of us who counseled caution this is not unexpected, but still deeply saddening. The list of what ifs will keep historians and military planers busy for the next few decades, but for us, we now have to figure out, what is the best way to lose this fight, and determine if there is anything that can be salvaged in Afghanistan.


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Thursday, October 12, 2006

If You Don't Like The Science, Ignore It

You can see this standard Republican reaction in action in Bush's press conference yesterday. When he was asked about the Johns Hopkins study that was published in The Lancet, he dismissed it.

Bush dismissed as "just not credible" a controversial new study that contends nearly 655,000 Iraqis have died because of the war. The study was based on interviews by researchers with Iraqi families and suggests a far higher death toll than other estimates.


A highly respected university does a study that appears to use valid sampling to study a population. They gather this information, present it to one of the worlds top medical journals, who decide it is worthy of publication, and our President decides (without even bothering to read it or learn about the methodology, not doubt) it is not credible.

Just like stem cell, global warming, and countless other issues, when the science doesn't agree with your notion of reality, just ignore it.


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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Today Is National Coming Out Day

I think that this movement, as much as anything, it what will speed up the eventual recognition of gay marriage. As more straight people get to know gay people, live next to them, eat dinner with them, they will see that homosexuality (like skin color, hair color, height etc) is just one small aspect of that person.

A couple on new studies are coming out in conjuction with national coming out day. At one time gay people, outside of a few metropolitan areas didn't pubically exist, now 70% of the adult heterosexual population know someone who is gay. In addition, support for gay marriage among people who are related to homosexuals runs 17% higher than support in the general population.

The fact that every year more gay do come out of the closet, and that these people are having a profound impact on the why straight America views gays, is why last summer I said that gay marriage will be accepted as law much sooner than many people expect.


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655,000 Dead


In the current Lancet a new study has been published indicating that the total number of Iraqi dead in the US attack of Iraq appears to be about 655,000. There is little doubt that the war cheerleaders in the US will denounce this work.

Juan Cole, and Middle East expert, finds it very credible, and I have to give it a high degree of validity. Johns Hopkins University, who led this study, and The Lancet, who published it, are not two groups who are known for either shody work, or just making stuff up, and those who complain about this study will in the end be accusing them of doing just that.


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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The War On Drugs, And Illegal Immigration

I have touched on this before, but a recent post at Laurenline makes me want to say it again.

The lesson we should all have learned in our 30 year long failed war on drugs also applies to the issue of illegal immigration.

The vast majority of our efforts in stopping drugs from entering our country have centered around interdiction. We have spend billions trying to find the tunnels, catch the ships and planes, and arrest the mules as they enter the country. We have spend billions trying to destroy the drugs in the fields, overthrowing the politicians who have enriched themselves in the drug trade, and imprisoning those who traffic drugs.

And drugs are as easy to find now as they were in 76 or 86 or 96, all of this money spent, all of the effort expended with no results, because we never addressed the reason the drugs were here.

Demand, as long as there is a large enough profit to be made, someone will take the risk to get that profit.

This applies to the issue of illegal immigration. The overwhelming majority of illegals in the US are here to work. If there is no work, there is no incentive to come to the US. If we are serious and want to stop illegal immigration we have to change our focus. We can build fences, hire guards, and spend billions, but it will do no good, unless we address demand, the flow will not stop.

We do this by holding those who employee illegal workers accountable.

By using the laws we already have in place, and adding in harsher penalties ( in the form of prison time and huge fines ), we can do far more and spend far less. These punishments must apply not only to the person who does the hiring, but also to the company it self, and the executives of that company. In addition, companies who hire subcontractors to do work for them must also be held fully accountable for those employed by their subcontractors.

Only be addressing the demand will we be able to reduce the impact of illegal immigration (or drugs) and all the other grand plans are just a waste of money and time that will be profitable for a few well connected companies, but useless for the American people.


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Monday, October 09, 2006

US Qualifies For The Rugby World Cup

We were able to be beat Uruguay 33-7 to secure our spot.

The USA has earned its way into Pool A with this win against Uruguay, and will be pitted against defending World Champions England, South Africa, Samoa and another qualifier yet undecided.


A third place finish in the pool should be the goal.

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The Blood Is Flowing In Iraq

It has become very difficult to follow, but it is very clear that over 40 months after we destroyed the Iraqi army, the Iraq we created is a very dangerous place.

Last month over 776 US troops were wounded in action in Iraq, that is 25 men a day. Recent reports indicate that being a member of the Iraqi police is almost a foolish job choice. Reports indicate that over 4,000 have been killed, and 8,000 injured in the last two years, almost 120 a week. Murder, torture, kidnapping, and assinations are a normal feature of everyday life.

Even US deaths, once reported quickly and accurately in the US media, now often not mentioned, have been seen to spike. The military now reports them sporadically, and in bulk. We had a rash of deaths early in the month, and this weekend was again deadly for US troops.

And Republicans everywhere want to stay on this course.

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N. Korea Test A Nuclear Device


this should surprise no one. Pyongyang is working to is own goals, and 'international condemnation' is seldom going to sway the actions of a nation that is already an international outcast.

I can not help but feel that our actions the last 6 years have only enabled the N. Korean governments actions. While we have, on occasion, played with various ploys to try to redirrect the government, we don't seem to have a firm sense of what realistic direction we wanted them to head in. For the most part our efforts consisted of insulting them, then ignoring them for long periods of time. While we were busy in Iraq, they have been able to increase the size of their nuclear arsenal by over 500%. That said, I am not sure that there was any tact that would have prevented them from their nuclear program.

I can actually understand their claim that this is for self defense. A small, regional form of MAD may make sense to a nation who feels it is under threat from both external and internal forces. It is flawed, deeply flawed, but is understandable when you consider the paranoia that overwhelms that nation.

Now the idea of a nuclear N. Korea can not longer be considered in the abstract, they do have nuclear weapon, at least a handful of them. Our posture to them must adjust to this reality. While we can work for disarmerment, and that should be our long term goal, we must also have shorter term goals that can be reached.

It is very unlikely that the current leadership can overcome their fear and loathing of the west to disarm, but if they can be contained, and further growth of their arsenal can be stopped, with time we may find a solution that doesn't involve a nuclear exchange.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Free Stuff

For those in the Columbia area, USC will host a free screening of the movie Iraq For Sale.

This will be 10 October, in the Gambrell Hall Auditorium (a classroom that I have spent more than my fair share of time in).

Thank you Lynne for the reminder.




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Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday Means

A small collections of post worth spending a little time reading.


From Evolving Thoughts, a simple question Is the Bush Administration fascist?


How much prison time will a Christian Right Wing pedophile serve, No More Mister Nice Blog thinks he knows.


Over at Sacraments Wholesale, Deacon Tim ponders the change of heart that can occur in just ten years.




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What The Foley Scandal Clearly Shows

A sex scandal in DC is about as unusual as a hot August afternoon in Columbia. The lessons that can be learned are not found in the center of the event, but on the edges. What I have noticed in the last week of watching this has fallen into two, not very suprising, categories; The media loves sex and Republicans hate the work of governing.

If you were to list the numerous scandals and disputes of the last six years, Foley's pedophilia would not rank in the top five. It has little national or international importance, and affects less that 2 dozen people total. Yet, it has been the top news story for a week now, something a number of far more important issues have never gotten.

CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, MSNBC give us 50 minutes of Foley, then break away for thirty seconds to mention the 8 troops have been killed in Iraq, we get another hour of Foley, then an insightful 90 seconds of analysis of NATO taking over control of Eastern Afghanistan. Even events with great visuals, major fires in two US cities, the kind of thing that the 24 hours news networks linger over for hours, get mentioned in passing, then back to Foley.

Sex sells. The American public understands it, loves it and hates it. They will watch it for days, drooling after every little detail. Signing statements that try to usurp law, they don't understand, War profitering is to complex, the selling of American polity to the highest bidding lobbyist is boring, NIEs, lying, downing street memo, war crimes, their eyes glaze over, but sex they will watch for hours.

In addition this clearly shows just how little interest this current batch of Republicans has in actually doing their job. If the issue doesn't include a group of lobbyist carrying large checks, it isn't worth their time.

I don't think Hassert (R-Il), Reynolds (R-NY) and the other Republicans who were warned about Foley and did nothing wanted a Pedophile running lose in the hall of congress. They just didn't care one way or the other. The had more pressing issues to deal with. They took the steps they thought would prevent this from going public, then forgot about it.

They could have actually investigated, but they saw no profit in it, there was no lobby with juicy checks pushing the issue. Since there was no clear gain in cash or power, they did nothing.

This is typical of the type of Republican oversight we see today. If they can scoop up more power, if there is a profit to be made, if there is a political gain, they will act. If it is just doing their jobs, and they think that no one will know it they don't act, they opt to do nothing.

And their peers continue to support them, their talking heads attack the kids Foley preyed upon, yet almost no one in the Republican party has yet to ask the obvious question, why didn't we just do our job of proper oversight 12 months ago.

To that question I will add, why didn't they do proper oversight when approving Brown to head FEMA? Why are they not interesting in the gross war profitering we see occurring in Iraq? Why did the war crimes that occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan and the various CIA black holes go without real investigation? Why was the response to the Presidential wire taping, not to investigate the illegal act, but to try to make it legal?

The answer is obvious, it would require that the DC republicans actually do their jobs, and the harsh truth is, there is no real profit to be gained in doing that.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Civics Lesson

Having a teenager means, eventually, letting them drive. Letting them drive means, eventually, them having a wreck, and that means, in many cases, a trip to traffic court.

That is how I spent my Thursday morning, sitting with my 17 year old daughter in traffic court.

It was what you expect, a long wait, followed by another long wait, followed by turning over some money to the city for a fine and court cost.

I view it as both a life and civic lesson for my daughter. An expensive lesson, but one I know that almost every parent has to pay for, and one I did expect.

I just wish she had told me she wanted to challenge the ticket, prior to pleading guilty and paying the fine.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise


Iraqi Police Forces Suspected Of Death Squad Ties.

An entire Iraqi police brigade has been taken out of duty and will be re-trained after accusations of complicity in death squad killings. The move came after nearly 40 people were kidnapped by armed men in Baghdad earlier this week.

Some of those seized in the two mass abductions were later found dead, the latest in a wave of sectarian killings. Officials say they have realised that removing that unit from Baghdad would actually improve security.


I am sure that all they need is a little retraining in the US built and paid for $75,000,000.00 police college to turn into fine upstanding totally secular and west loving servants of the Iraqi state.

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Republicans, Morality, Values, and Rush

Talk about nailing it.


If the term "moral degenerate" has any validity and can be fairly applied to anyone, there are few people who merit that term more than Rush Limbaugh. He is the living and breathing embodiment of moral degeneracy, with his countless overlapping sexual affairs, his series of shattered, dissolved marriages, his hedonistic and illegal drug abuse, his jaunts, with fistfulls of Viagra (but no wife), to an impoverished Latin American island renowned for its easy access to underage female prostitutes.

Yet that is who Hastert chose as the High Priest of the Values Voters to whom he made his pilgrimage and from whom he received his benediction. The difference between Rush Limbaugh and Mark Foley, to the extent there is one, is one of hedonistic tastes, not moral level. Rush Limbaugh isn't just tolerated within the party that stands for religious piety and moral strength. He is a leader of it, arguably the leader of its most righteous wing. Is it really all that surprising that a political movement that has chosen a moral degenerate like Rush Limbaugh as one of its most revered and morally respected leaders is not all that bothered by -- and therefore actively harbors -- the Mark Foleys of the world?


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Interesting Notes About Faux News

It appears that Fox News also had copies of the e-mails that Rep. Foley (R-Fl) exchanged with underage boys. They made the choice to not report this story.

In addition, last night, Fox News, on at least three occasions, displayed a graphic that labeled the Republican Pedophile Mark Foley as a Democrat. The image is captured here.

Faux's bias is again showing.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What Has Been Missing From The News

The last week has presented the media with a feast of news topics to cover. It was disclosed that a new NIE was released last spring. Portions of this report indicate that Bush's war in Iraq is adding to the terror threat, not lessening it. This directly counters a number of Bush's claims about his war on terror, claims he has been making long after this report was presented to him. In clear language Bush has been caught lying to the American public.

Bob Woodward's new book is released and it paints a picture of a Bush White House who refuses to look at the reality we have created in Iraq. His book appears to expose a level of delusion and detatchment that clearly indicate that we have no change to win in Iraq or Afghanistan the way we have been fighting.

To cap it all, we get something that everyone can understand, a sex scandal. A Republican congressman has been caught sniffing after underage pages, and it appears that the Republican leadership worked to coverup his behavior and thus enabled the page hunting to continue.

A lot of new stories have broken, and these have tended to push older stories onto the back burner. One of these older stories is the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have resulted in as many as 14 US troops being killed in combat since the 1st of the month.

Today is only the 3rd.

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What Does Condi Rice's Lie

About receiving a warning about the World Trade Center Attacks attacks tell us about her focus on terrorism prior to 9-11?

One of the many interesting points raised in Bob Wodward's new book was that the CIA had given Sec. Rice a briefing in July 2001 that warned of a pending attack. When confronted by this last week she said:

"What I am quite certain of is that I would remember if I was told, as this account apparently says, that there was about to be an attack in the United States, and the idea that I would somehow have ignored that I find incomprehensible,"


The State Department has now confirmed that this meeting, a meeting that Sec. Rice claims never occurred because she surely would remember and have reacted if it had occurred, did, infact take place.

The reality is, the Bush administration, prior to 9-11 didn't care about terrorism, or the conflict in the middle east. They were focused on Russia, China, and N. Korea. SDI was far more important than Bin Laden, and terrorism concerns were ignored.

The Bush administration was determined to be the Anti-Clinton administration. If the Clinton administration dismissed something, it was to be a priority, if the Clinton administration valued something, it was to be ignored. The Clinton warning that Bin Laden and terrorism would be the gravest danger the Bush White House would face, just assured that the issue would be left to rot.

The result was, despite sixty days of warning, our nation was blindsided by an act of mass murder. We are left to wonder what might have happened if, after either of the pre 9-11 warnings, the administration had actually done something. What if they had asked agents in the field about the activity of suspected terror cells in the US. What happens, if asking this simple question, had raised questions about pilots who were trying to learn to fly, but not real concerned with learning to land.

Instead, 5 years later, we learn that senior members of the Bush administration were so disinterested in terrorism, that they can not even remember high level meetings where they were told that we were likely to be attacked.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

More Evidence Of Bush's Lies

Remember how Bush kept saying the decision to attack Iraq had not been made. How he wanted peace, and if Saddam would just be reasonable there need not be any war.

Jack Abramoff supplies more evidence that this is just so much bull

From: Jack Abramoff
To: 'octagon1'
Monday, March 18, 2002 8:31 AM
Subject: RE: Sunday

I was sitting yesterday with Karl Rove, Bush's top advisor, at the NCAA basketball game, discussing Israel when this email came in. I showed it to him. It seems that the President was very sad to have to come out negatively regarding Israel, but that they needed to mollify the Arabs for the upcoming war on Iraq. That did not seem to work anyway. Bush seems to love Sharon and Israel, and thinks Arabfat [sic], is nothing but a liar. I thought I'd pass that on.


By March 18th 2002, 1 year prior to the start of the war, a lobbyist knew that an invasion of Iraq was the goal. Yet our President kept coming out and lying to the American public for another 11 and a half months.

Just when you think you can not be more disgusted, more information comes out.

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Just Not Going So Well

While our focus remains in Iraq, Afghanistan continues it's slide back into failed state status. Another clear indicator of just how poorly things are going can be found in a Sunday Times report; British troops in secret truce with the Taliban.

BRITISH troops battling the Taliban are to withdraw from one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan after agreeing a secret deal with the local people. Over the past two months British soldiers have come under sustained attack defending a remote mud-walled government outpost in the town of Musa Qala in southern Afghanistan. Eight have been killed there.


It has now been agreed the troops will quietly pull out of Musa Qala in return for the Taliban doing the same.


These are the people that did aid in the attack of the US, these are the people we should be working to defeat, and Bush has given them the space they needed to not only survive, but regrow to again threaten their nation.

Bush will be the only American president to lose two wars, and he will have done it at the same time.


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Pedophilia

For obvious reasons some Republican members of congress, and some of the talking heads are trying to spin the Rep. Foley (R-Fl.) in directions other than it's pedophilia core.

One very lame excuse was tossed out by Newt Gingrich claiming that the reason this was not exposed was the house leadership feared being accused of 'gay bashing'.

Sorry Newt, the issue is not homosexuality, it is pedophilia. While there can be homosexual Pedophiles, there are also what appear to be a countless supply of heterosexual Pedophiles.

Between the weekly pedophilia stings that Dateline stages, and the monthly reports of another female teacher sleeping with a middleschool boy, the fact the this is not a homosexual issue should be clear to everyone.

Nice try Newt, but your attempt at spin was very weak, and a bit silly.


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