Friday, February 28, 2003

A reminder of what happened when a Bush in the White House promised when the US would liberate another oppresed nation.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Now that Osama bin Laden has been caught and put to justice, arms issues in Iraq and North Korea are resolved, and our country has extra resources to go around, the U.S. government has gone on a crusade to rid the country of the biggest existing threat to our country: bongs. Combined with their manic persecution of terminally ill pot users in California, the country can be relieved that the war on drugs is in full swing and attacking a dangerous drug that kills no one and renders it's users too lazy and hungry to commit any crimes other than its indulgence. What a relief! Those old days of terrorism alerts and mass-stockpiling of canned goods and bottled water must be over! Ok, I can only sustain this level of sarcasm for so long so here are the articles to read for yourself: NY Times article and Salon article.

What's interesting, and not completely unrelated, is that there are other articles in the Times today discussing governors' budget concerns to which Bush answered that the federal government has its own budget problems so too bad and an article that explains that the report Bush uses to argue his new tax cut proposal will help the economy states that it will harm the economy in the long run. I'm afraid that connecting the dots explicitly here will insult readers' intelligence but I'm dense so here goes: Dammit Bush, you fucking moron! You are mandating first responders to upgrade their defenses against terrorism but haven't given them any money, you've made federal education mandates but haven't provided adequate funding, and your response to Medicaid budget problems has been to help states deny coverage to people. But you're spending money and resources to bust people for selling bongs!?! Are you insane? What the fuck could you be thinking in that tiny little head of yours?

Ok. I'm done with that. New topic: immigration policy. I really hope that someone can explain this to me because I'm a little confused. I read that there is a mass exodus of non-citizen Pakistanis to Canada--actually more than they can handle. One family was apparently told to come back in two weeks and when they turned back, the male members of the family were arrested leaving the female members stranded along the Vermont-Canada border in the middle of winter. They had lived and worked in the United States for a long time and expressed a deep appreciation and love for the country but with the new crack-down on non-criminal illegal aliens (because the criminal ones won't bother to turn themselves in to register themselves, duh) they are fleeing to Canada seeking asylum rather than facing the prospect of deportation back to Pakistan. What I can't understand is why we can't let them stay? Aren't these people just the sort of hardworking, patriotic people that we want in this country? Wasn't the intention of this country supposed to be a refuge for the oppressed? Are there qualifications for this status like, well, we don't take brown oppressed people? Only Europeans are true American-types? If you weren't here to kick out the Native Americans, you aren't a real American? I don't know. I can't see what the justification could be for having such a conservative immigration policy. Our economy basically depends on illegal alien immigrant labor to fill a lot of the low-paying but necessary jobs that "real" Americans are too proud to take. And then, instead of thinking that these people have done us a great service, that they have proven themselves to be worthy and law-abiding and patriotic Americans and that we should really beg them stay, we deport them back to the oppressive regimes they fled from. It really defies logic to me. Anyway, maybe someone can clear that up for me and explain what the justification for this policy is.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

After that long post and my confession of wavering, it doesn't take much for me to remember why I never stay in the other side of the war line very long. I posted something from an Australian News Source about the new leader that WE, not the Iraqi people, have chosen for Iraq after we annihilate Saddam, wondering how accurate it is. Well, evidense keeps on mounting that there is truth to it. The Guardian has some news on the subject - Bush I screwed the Kurds back in 1991, and it looks like Bush II is gonna pick up where his Father left off.

I'm at the point where I'll take Bozo the Clown over our President. Really, anybody but Bush. Take my President, please!

I sometimes find myself flip flopping on the war issue. I can't say I've ever really been gung ho in favor of the war, or even liked the idea, just that on certain days it feels like it isn't the worst thing that could happen. When you read all the information I do it's hard not to be swayed on occasion by an empassioned testimonial.

I recently heard an interview on This Is Hell with Shengde Lian, executive director of the Free China Movement, and a former Tian An Men Square student leader in 1989 and political prisoner. I can't say he was an advocate in favor of this war, mainly because of his criticism of our President and the hypocrisy he (or really anyone in the White House for that matter) commits whenever Bush invokes the Human Rights Issue, based on our treatment of China with kid gloves when we examine their human rights record. But I will say this - the picture Shengde painted in his interview on TIH, in reference to the hell he himself and many other Chinese had to endure while living in China, was bleak enough that it made you wonder this - Is the hell that the Iraqi people current endure right now actually better in comparrison to what the war will bring? Will the war be bloody, create suffering and have serious loss of life? Absolutely, but that is the case when someone amputates a limb or removes an organ when it is infected or cancerous. The short term pain is made up in the long term gain.

FYI - THIS IS HELL puts their show on the net, and this past week's show ( 02.15.03 ) should be available by this coming Saturday at their site by clicking "the morgue". I highly recommend you listen to it, although be forewarned, it is a 4 hour show, and it may take a while to hear just that interview. Still if you have some time to kill, do it, you won't regret it.

NPR also made me think when they had a special session on this past Sat in conjunction with the BBC. An Iraqi dissident called in saying that war was the only way to dislodge Saddam. The BBC correspondent interjected at some point, and quite frankly was a tad bit rude when he did, to say something along the lines of (don't quote me on this) "Isn't there another way without killing so many?" to which the Iraqi dissident respondended "He's killing people now, what's the difference?". It's hard to maintain steadfast opposition when you hear something like that.

What bothers me is there is good reason to believe that the promises to rebuild Iraq by Dubya are bullshit. I'm afraid we'll make a mess and then not take the time to clean it up. Maybe it's this administration, made up of a cadre of liars, cheats, criminals, oil whores and chickenhawks, that concerns me the most. Maybe it's the fact that so many staffer in this administration are responsible for helping Saddam out - he was a murderous thug then as he is a murderous thug now, the only difference is he doesnt do our bidding anymore. Maybe if it was someone with more intergity and commitment to Human Rights in the White House calling for the war as the only solution, maybe then I would be more swayed. Then again, if there was another administration in power with more commitments to Human Rights, I highly doubt they would be as quick and as enthusiastic as the one in power to annihilate a country while sitting behind a desk in DC.

On the other hand, it's also hard not to be swayed towards the stauch anti war position when you read something like the speech that Sen. Robert Byrd made on the Senate Floor Speech on Wed., Feb. 12, 2003, posted verbatim by Rich of Suburban Limbo. He made a very convincing argument, and it is hard for me not to agree with him wholeheartedly. Here's the speech;

To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences. On this February day, as this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of war. Yet, this Chamber is, for the most part, silent -- ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing. We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events. Only on the editorial pages of our newspapers is there much substantive discussion of the prudence or imprudence of engaging in this particular war. And this is no small conflagration we contemplate.

This is no simple attempt to defang a villain. No. This coming battle, if it materializes, represents a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and possibly a turning point in the recent history of the world. This nation is about to embark upon the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time. The doctrine of preemption -- the idea that the United States or any other nation can legitimately attack a nation that is not imminently threatening but may be threatening in the future -- is a radical new twist on the traditional idea of self defense. It appears to be in contravention of international law and the UN Charter. And it is being tested at a time of world-wide terrorism, making many countries around the globe wonder if they will soon be on our -- or some other nation's -- hit list. High level Administration figures recently refused to take nuclear weapons off of the table when discussing a possible attack against Iraq. What could be more destabilizing and unwise than this type of uncertainty, particularly in a world where globalism has tied the vital economic and security interests of many nations so closely together?

There are huge cracks emerging in our time-honored alliances, and U.S. intentions are suddenly subject to damaging worldwide speculation. Anti-Americanism based on mistrust, misinformation, suspicion, and alarming rhetoric from U.S. leaders is fracturing the once solid alliance against global terrorism which existed after September 11. Here at home, people are warned of imminent terrorist attacks with little guidance as to when or where such attacks might occur. Family members are being called to active military duty, with no idea of the duration of their stay or what horrors they may face. Communities are being left with less than adequate police and fire protection. Other essential services are also short-staffed. The mood of the nation is grim. The economy is stumbling. Fuel prices are rising and may soon spike higher.

This Administration, now in power for a little over two years, must be judged on its record. I believe that that record is dismal. In that scant two years, this Administration has squandered a large projected surplus of some $5.6 trillion over the next decade and taken us to projected deficits as far as the eye can see. This Administration's domestic policy has put many of our states in dire financial condition, under funding scores of essential programs for our people. This Administration has fostered policies which have slowed economic growth. This Administration has ignored urgent matters such as the crisis in health care for our elderly. This Administration has been slow to provide adequate funding for homeland security. This Administration has been reluctant to better protect our long and porous borders.

In foreign policy, this Administration has failed to find Osama bin Laden. In fact, just yesterday we heard from him again marshaling his forces and urging them to kill. This Administration has split traditional alliances, possibly crippling, for all time, International order-keeping entities like the United Nations and NATO. This Administration has called into question the traditional worldwide perception of the United States as well-intentioned, peacekeeper. This Administration has turned the patient art of diplomacy into threats, labeling, and name calling of the sort that reflects quite poorly on the intelligence and sensitivity of our leaders, and which will have consequences for years to come. Calling heads of state pygmies, labeling whole countries as evil, denigrating powerful European allies as irrelevant -- these types of crude insensitivities can do our great nation no good. We may have massive military might, but we cannot fight a global war on terrorism alone. We need the cooperation and friendship of our time-honored allies as well as the newer found friends whom we can attract with our wealth. Our awesome military machine will do us little good if we suffer another devastating attack on our homeland which severely damages our economy. Our military manpower is already stretched thin and we will need the augmenting support of those nations who can supply troop strength, not just sign letters cheering us on. The war in Afghanistan has cost us $37 billion so far, yet there is evidence that terrorism may already be starting to regain its hold in that region. We have not found bin Laden, and unless we secure the peace in Afghanistan, the dark dens of terrorism may yet again flourish in that remote and devastated land. Pakistan as well is at risk of destabilizing forces.

This Administration has not finished the first war against terrorism and yet it is eager to embark on another conflict with perils much greater than those in Afghanistan. Is our attention span that short? Have we not learned that after winning the war one must always secure the peace? And yet we hear little about the aftermath of war in Iraq. In the absence of plans, speculation abroad is rife. Will we seize Iraq's oil fields, becoming an occupying power which controls the price and supply of that nation's oil for the foreseeable future? To whom do we propose to hand the reigns of power after Saddam Hussein? Will our war inflame the Muslim world resulting in devastating attacks on Israel? Will Israel retaliate with its own nuclear arsenal? Will the Jordanian and Saudi Arabian governments be toppled by radicals, bolstered by Iran which has much closer ties to terrorism than Iraq? Could a disruption of the world's oil supply lead to a world-wide recession? Has our senselessly bellicose language and our callous disregard of the interests and opinions of other nations increased the global race to join the nuclear club and made proliferation an even more lucrative practice for nations which need the income? In only the space of two short years this reckless and arrogant Administration has initiated policies which may reap disastrous consequences for years.

One can understand the anger and shock of any President after the savage attacks of September 11. One can appreciate the frustration of having only a shadow to chase and an amorphous, fleeting enemy on which it is nearly impossible to exact retribution. But to turn one's frustration and anger into the kind of extremely destabilizing and dangerous foreign policy debacle that the world is currently witnessing is inexcusable from any Administration charged with the awesome power and responsibility of guiding the destiny of the greatest superpower on the planet. Frankly many of the pronouncements made by this Administration are outrageous. There is no other word.

Yet this chamber is hauntingly silent. On what is possibly the eve of horrific infliction of death and destruction on the population of the nation of Iraq a population, I might add, of which over 50% is under age 15 -- this chamber is silent. On what is possibly only days before we send thousands of our own citizens to face unimagined horrors of chemical and biological warfare -- this chamber is silent. On the eve of what could possibly be a vicious terrorist attack in retaliation for our attack on Iraq, it is business as usual in the United States Senate.

We are truly "sleepwalking through history." In my heart of hearts I pray that this great nation and its good and trusting citizens are not in for a rudest of awakenings.

To engage in war is always to pick a wild card. And war must always be a last resort, not a first choice. I truly must question the judgment of any President who can say that a massive unprovoked military attack on a nation which is over 50% children is "in the highest moral traditions of our country".

This war is not necessary at this time. Pressure appears to be having a good result in Iraq. Our mistake was to put ourselves in a corner so quickly. Our challenge is to now find a graceful way out of a box of our own making. Perhaps there is still a way if we allow more time.

I just clipped and pasted the whole darn thing, since I saw the tag line at the bottom of SL - Items may be reproduced non-comercially on the web, but please link back to

By the way, I'll be in your neck of the woods Rich - I'm visiting a friend in Gainesville for a long weekend. Probably no posting till I get back next Tuesday. I'm on Vay Kay till then!

Saturday, February 15, 2003

This debate is silly but not surpirsing. Of course, I couldn't help but be a prick. Check out the comment at the bottom (#35).

You know I just recently forked over the money for Salon Premium just 2 weeks ago, and now I hear this! Damnit all to hell! Would some of you lousy freeloading bastards that love to read Salon have the common courtesy to pay for it..... Please!

Friday, February 14, 2003

Blowtorch Monkey News Blotter

Since I finally have some pressing work to do my blogging will be less prolific that it's been in recent weeks. But here's what I've read lately;

Dolly the sheep is Dead. Cloning is a bad idea. Really.

Here's where it get's a bit Hebrew-centric, forgive me.

Gary Hart's speech about our foreign policy. I've had all these thoughts before, but haven't crafted them this concise and eloquent as the former Colorado Democratic Senator. Unfortunately he's under some suspicision for "Anti Semitism" over a statement so innocuous the charge is flat out idiotic. You can read some of the debate on talkleft here.

From the Nation;
ANSWER could cite Lerner's criticism of ANSWER as a reason for blocking him. But its objection to Lerner also jibes with the group's political agenda. On January 28, Tony Murphy, the media coordinator for ANSWER, appeared on a radio show in New York and said, "I know that the ANSWER coalition would not have a pro-Israel speaker on its platform." (Lerner is pro-Israel in that he supports the existence of the Jewish state.) ANSWER's anti-Israel stance has also been reflected in its relationship with at least one troubling anti-Zionist. At its January march in Washington, ANSWER handed a microphone to Abdul Malim Musa, a Muslim cleric. On October 31, 2001, Musa had appeared at a news conference at the National Press Club with other Muslim activists and members of the New Black Panther Party, where speakers asserted that Israel had launched the 9/11 attacks and that thousands of Jews had been warned that day not to go to work at the World Trade Center. At that press conference, Musa blasted the "Zionists in Hollywood, the Zionists in New York, and the Zionists in D.C." who "all collaborate" to put down blacks and Muslims. ANSWER has room in its antiwar coalition for Musa, but not Lerner.

SF Gate's article on the exclusion of Rabbi Lerner in the ANSWER led protest.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Speaking of people who delude themselves; Do you have any idea how many books and articles there are that hail our President's Genius? It goes from David Frum's "The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush" to The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush: 10 Common Sense Lessons from the Commander-in-Chief by James W. Ware & Carolyn B. Thompson. It gets better with blowhards like Michael Barone, of US News and World Report & The McLaughlin Group, heaping praise on Dubya for "framing the issues". Timothy Noah of Slate documented this whole Bush 'genius' phenominon and the essential compromising of conservatives and their ideals.

I have no idea how anyone in their right mind can even put genius and President Bush in the same sentence when the idiots in the White House are trying to pass this crap off as serious!

White House: Tape shows Iraq-al-Qaida link
- By Associated Press

Feb. 12, 2003 | Washington -- The Bush administration believes a new tape purportedly of Osama bin Laden, aired by the Al-Jazeera satellite television station, is clear evidence that there is a link between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein.

White House spokesman [and stupid f%$#king asshole] Ari Fleischer said Wednesday the audiotape of the al-Qaida leader confirms the terror network's "linking up" with the Iraqi regime. U.S. counterterrorism experts say they believe the voice on the tape is that of the elusive bin Laden, though [that blithering idiot Ari] Fleischer said the proof is not yet considered conclusive.

Senator John McCain said the tape, aired Tuesday, proves that bin Laden and Saddam will do anything to destroy the West. "The two of them together can make a very potent recipe," McCain said on NBC's "Today" show.

But he cautioned that he's not sure if the tape shows a definite al-Qaida link to Iraq.[emphasis mine]

The voice on the tape urges Iraqis to stage suicide attacks and lure American troops into bloody urban battles to inflict "big casualties."

[that stupid fucking shithead Ari] Fleischer dismissed critics who've noted the bin Laden voice backs the Iraqi people, not Saddam Hussein. "The world cannot afford to be in denial," [arrogant son-of-a-bitch Ari] Fleischer said.

Sometimes I get the feeling that if our President were to take a dump and smear his own feces on a canvas, and had it displayed in the Museum of Modern Art, a cadre of conservatives would all rush to hail the President for his incredible "artistic vision". Without a doubt someone on the right would follow that act up with a book entitled "The Modern Art Genius of George W. Bush". It's almost like the Emperor has no clothes after the Emperor has been revealed as naked, except a bunch of his loyal followers keep asserting "No, it's a nude colored bodysuit!! He wants you to misunderestimate his clothing!!". For chrissakes get over it, there were people asserting after Bush got elected that intelligence is overrated as a characteristic for the Presidency. Now he's a fucking genuis.

As usual Conason's journal on Salon is on point today, on the same subject. Not the President shitting on a canvas, mind you, but rather the sheer ridiculous attempt to link Al Qaeda and Saddam after Osama called for Saddam's overthrow. I'll say it till I die; see what you what to see, hear what you want to hear, believe what you want to believe......

As for Fleisher, I have but one question - is there any way we can kick this stupid arrogant asshole out of 'The Tribe'? [He's a Heeb, I'm a Heeb] That guy is such a weasel he makes me actually consider the thought about converting. Hell, you have to listen to Fleisher more than Bush, which may explain my animosity towards the weasel, I'll be just as happy to see him go as I will be to see Bush go when he has to leave office. Please please please let that very day come sooner rather than later.

I guess I'm not the only one to think that a war in Iraq would be the perfect opportunity for those who wish to destabilize/take over the very fragile government in Afghanistan. You can see it here post aspart of the article from Slate's Int'l Papers Sect;

Currently, ISAF only operates in Kabul and its immediate surroundings, which has allowed former Taliban leaders and renegade warlords to re-establish influence in the regions beyond the capital city. The Guardian reported that Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, "one of Afghanistan's most fundamentalist warlords," is now creating an alliance with Taliban and al-Qaida survivors to target U.S. forces, aid agencies, and representatives of the Afghan government. The paper quoted from an interview Hekmatyar gave to the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper last November: "The battle is with the Americans. The reason for what we are facing is the American presence in Afghanistan. We must end this presence, and then its supporters will collapse."

An alarming piece in Monday's Daily Telegraph by Ahmed Rashid presented a region in which the old tensions of the "great game" are resurfacing and threatening Afghanistan's stability: "Despite pledges of help for [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai, Russia is arming one warlord and Iran another. India and Pakistan are continuing their long rivalry and secretly backing different claimants to power, while the central Asian republics are backing their ethnic allies." The neighboring states are frantically vying for influence because they believe the United States will reduce its commitment to Afghanistan if it goes to war in Iraq. Rashid's conclusion was depressing but sound: "Hopes of an end to interference lie in a stronger central government and greater western pressure to stop the neighbours from interfering. The latter appears less likely with the world's attention focused on Iraq."

If this happens we are soooo fucked.

Sidenote - if I keep this standard of profanity laced tirades, I might have to change my name to "The Foul Mouthed Pundit". Curses make me sound bad, but they feel soooo goooood.... even in text no less.

Public Citizen says the following
"I guess I just have one question about Patriot II and all the other bullshit that seeks to make us prisoners of a police state under the iron fist of King George -- WHERE ARE THE FUCKING CONSERVATIVES ON THIS?!?!!!??? I keep hearing some little faint whispers about dissent from within this group but nothing mainstream and nothing flat out calling for King George to shape up. My other question is WHY DON'T THE DEMS HAVE ANY FUCKING BALLS???!!!! Come on, guys! They're setting you up!"

I got two things to say on that -

Point #1 - Let's face it, in the history of Civil Rights abuses in this country, the violation of conservatives is incredibly small in comparrison to liberals. Even though conservatives love to bring up what the left wing Soviets did when the powers that be go unchecked and governmental authorities are able to do when there is no Bill of Rights or a Constitution, they seem to forget all those things when the shoe is on the other foot. I guess that means it's okay cause we're not commies.

Try to remember when head of the FBI and crossdresser in chief J Edgar Hoover was making files on "UnAmerican activities" they were compiled on liberals like Rev. Martin Luther King Jr and Albert Einstein, not Roy Cohn and Senator McCarthy. When the National Guard shot those students at Kent University in Ohio, they weren't the ones demanding to be allowed to serve their country (everybody knows those people were AWOL in Alabama.)

They probably think they don't have to fear all that much, and I 'd have to say that they are probably right. Last time I heard Bob Barr, that reptile (and former House Rep (R-GA) ) was against the war, but I seriously fucking doubt that the New York Sun is going to call Barr a traitor. Let that be a lesson to all you hippies.

Point #2 - Only Conservatives who are truly that commited to conservative ideals (which seemingly these days means very few) are all that outraged by Patriot Act II. An awful lot of die hard conservatives seemed ready willing and able to put aside their idealogical tendencies and just support the President no matter what he does in fear that another Democrat will hold the White House for any extended period of time. I have to believe that deep down inside, most conservatives believe they dodged a bullet when the Supreme Court gave the Presidency to Bush, considering he lost the popular vote. I tend to think that they have deluded and compromised themselves as much as they have because they believe that anything is better than another Clinton. But that's just my opinion.

On a side note I can't help but think right after the Patriot Act was first passed that NPR did a profile on some people that gathered at some kind of townhall meeting discussing the effects of the Patriot Act. I distinctly remember that there were Pro Choice dvocates in favor of it, because they believed it would allow the Governmenr to monitor the actions of Anti Abortion protesting activity.

Its important to remember that an awful lot of people on both sides, liberal and conservative, are willing to look the other way when the individuals who are having their civil rights violated are the same ones who are opposed to their personal or political beliefs. I digress.....

The Democrats? I dunno what they're trying to do, they seem like they're holding the balls like a bunch of soccer players during a penalty kick. Maybe they're trying to figure out how to tie this all in to Social Security? It's the only issue that they are united on and have no conflict of interest in their home state (as in Detroit Dems & the Auto Industry, the Conn Dems & the Insurance Industry, etc.)

In all seriousness though it was Sen. Biden (D-Delaware) that was demanding to see some of what Asscroft was working on to begin with, so give him some credit. Asscoft said it didn't exist or something along those lines - then it got leaked. And I have faith in at least a couple of Dems, including Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), he wouldn't put up with this crap either. He was the only one that voted against the first Patriot Act. As a united front however, well the Democrats are a mess for many reasons, too long to count here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Alright, after all that heavy shit this will make you feel better, or at least confirm what you should have known already.

I came across this article about neglected Afghanistan - The near collapse of peace in this savage land is a narrative erased from the mind of Americans - It's in UK's The Independent. Am I the only one, or does anyone else think that while we're bombing the bejezus out of Iraq that some people (Al Qaeda or anyone else like a Afghan Warlord) might get the idea that this will be the time to start an attack on the very weak and very fragile Hamid Karzai led government in Afghanistan?

Fuckin aye, this is what drives me nuts. I might be more understanding of the President's drive for War (well, not really but) if we had made good on our promises to Afghanistan. And now Osama is calling for the ouster of Saddam, as well as, oh yeah "to carry out suicide attacks against Americans and defend themselves against a U.S. attack". This cannot be good.

It seems like most of the standard liberal leaning stuff I've been meaning to discuss has already been covered extensively. I'm always a little behind. Get Donkey (on the impending war) and Norman Conquest of Knife of Simpson (on Patriot Act II) have already covered the big stuff. I hate it when another good blogger beats me to it, but there's no sense in adding to what's already been said by Rob and Norman. From Get Donkey -

I just hope this damn thing is quick and as bloodless as possible. I hope our soldiers have an easy time of it and come home alive. I hope few innocents have to die. I hope the economy doesn’t suffer more than it already has. I hope that armies of new terrorists are not born from a protracted US occupation of the cradle of civilization.

Of course, the profane side of me, the part I don’t want to listen to, harbors a dark thought that a botched war will surely taint this Administration. It’s an awful and sickening thing to contemplate, but it’s there, and the reason why it’s there is because I fear it may be the only way people will wake up. Hardship may be the only thing that will slap the arrogant smirk off the faces of power-hungry hawks. It may be the only thing that makes some realize that “from one’s gut” is not the best way to run the greatest and most powerful nation in the history of the world. It may be the only thing that makes some realize that partiotism means more than a flag-shaped lapel pin. Sadly, it may be the only thing to shake many of us out of our apathy.
- Get Donkey

I totally hear where you're coming from Rob. "It's so easy to become apathetic", says pretty much everything I feel. Damn you Rob for being so on top of things and expressing so well what I had been thinking already. I'm very much split myself. Since this war seems all but inevitable I'm hoping and praying that there are as many disgruntled Iraqis that are as disgusted with Saddam as the WarHawks claim there are. (I'm agnostic, and an agnostic praying is not a good sign of things to come.) All this will mean fewer casualties, to Americans, Allied forces and the people were are supposed to be liberating, the Iraqis. A 'quick and virtually bloodless" success with the war also means Bush gets heaping doses of praise that it does not deserve, and that will increase his chances of reelection. But if that's the price to be paid, meaning we 'liberate' Iraq in a 'quick and virtually bloodless' war, and the price being Bush is reelected, so be it.

I have to disagree though in calling that dark side profane. It's one thing to wish for, and I certainly don't. I do not forsee anyonre learning a lesson, not as long as we're the nation with all the marbles. I think it's just a logical conclusion; anyone who thinks this war will be 'virtually bloodless' is OUT OF THEIR FREAKIN GOURD! And by the way I know for some people that bloodless means almost no blood for American Troops (Iraqis don't count), and I still say YOU'RE OUT OF YOUR FREAKNG GOURD. This is what happens when ChickenHawks are the ones drawing up the war plans.(I'm taking Schwartzkoff's comments way out of context, but he did allude to this statement this past Sunday on Meet The Press) It's hard to say how many suicidal people will defend themselves against an Allied army comprised primarily of US Troops. However for anyone to think there won't be at least a few bitter Iraqis * taking advantage of the urban warzone hell that Bahgdad will become so they can inflict some damage on US Troops is simply not using any common sense.

* bitter because say they lost children/family in the first bombing of Iraq, or whatever will happen during the second.

However I do have something new that I haven't seen anywhere else. Apparently the Democratic government that will be taking over a 'liberated' Iraq after Saddam has been removed has already been Democratically elected! By none other than some of the same bozos in the White House that supported Saddam in the first place, pre-Kuwait invasion. Here's the article I saw it, in an Australian Paper. I don't know if this is a case of the US media ignoring important news or a foreign media outlet using lower standards than the US. I just thought Id' post it;

US chooses Saddam's successor - By Tom Allard, Foreign Affairs Writer - February 4 2003

Future in his hands ... Mohamed al-Jabiri holds the final draft of the blueprint for a post-Saddam justice system.

The United States has chosen a successor to Saddam Hussein from Iraq's notoriously fractious opposition groups, according to a former Iraqi diplomat who lives in Sydney.

Mohamed al-Jabiri, who has just returned from in talks with Washington, said the White House has given its "blessing" to the head of the Iraqi National Congress, Ahmed Chalabi, to lead a transitional coalition government in Iraq once Saddam has been deposed.

As mentioned by Norman ala KOS, the Patriot Act II managed to find it's way into unsuspecting hands. Asscroft tried to keep it under wraps for as long as possible, but someone managed to sneak it out of the Department of inJustice, courtesy of a leak, bless his or her soul, whoever pulled that one off. Here's the Salon article on Patriot II;

More secret arrests, more power to spy - Patriot Act II - Despite official denials, Attorney General John Ashcroft has grand plans for new anti-terror legislation. Critics -- on the left and the right -- are worried.

I heard on Free Speech Radio News that the administration was waiting for Gulf War II to commence before this legislative gem would be dropped on Congress, and probably be passed with as much scrutiny as the first Patriot Act. Free Speech Radio News - a media source that I at times enjoy but due to some of their inconsistencies I still have to take with a grain of salt - reported yesterday that the White House would try to ramrod this gem of legislation thru after Gulf War II the Revenge commenced. By the way, the FSRN broadcast is only on audio and not text. In order to hear the story you have to listen to the program about 9 minutes in to hear that segment.

This actually makes a lot of sense whether or not FSRN is right on the facts/details. Congress sent Patriot Act I thru during the madness of 9.11 and the anthrax scare. Passing Patriot Act II during what is now inevitable Gulf War should meet as little resistance as possible under those same circumstances. Hell it might be in Bush's interest to let a little terrorist act slip thru the Homeland Security's greasy little fingers during that period, ratcheting up the fear in this country another notch. This will all but kill deabte. As the Church Lady used to say "How convienent".

On a lighter note;

I had heard that William Gibson had a blog, but this is the first time I've seen it. A very cool change of pace read for anyonre, especially for a reformed SF geek.

And if Suzie can't cheer you up, just go ahead and kill yourself. Way to go Suzie Felber, sis of Adam Felber (Fanatical Apathy and NPR's regular guest on Whaddya Know). She posts regularly now, so you can get a daily dose of her.

Monday, February 10, 2003

I find myself not convinced that it's wartime for Saddam, but I still enjoy reading well thought out blogs explaining either side. Here's an example of why Cal Pundit kicks ass. Here's from his post:

We may not be innocent bystanders, but neither does our past mean that we now have to stand aside and simply hang our heads in shame. It's vitally important, I think, given the powderkeg nature of the Arab world and the increasing worldwide availability of horrifying weapons, that we do something to clean up a mess that we ourselves have had a hand in creating.

Why is it that I always feel better when an even keeled liberal looks at our past and assesses it as such versus some war hungry conservative looking for a fight? I still feel like I lean more anti-war than for it, but at some point a threshold will be crossed, and there will have to be actual consequences for Iraq's insubordination for not complying with the agreements post Gulf War I (like a hollywood movie, the success of the first seems to suggest a sequel is inevitable). The fact of the matter is that Saddam hasn't complied with much of anything unless there is a gun at is head. Still, I feel that now is not the time, not yet.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Righteous Fury in it's purest form

There's been a debate at Sand in the Gears that went over the 150 post mark. It started about Viggo Mortenson but quickly morphed into dissent on the war. I kinda lost my shit, but I have to say that some of the stuff I posted in some of my better writing. This was posted by me (go down, way down, past 100+ posts) on Sand in the Gears:

Davey, and anyone else who cares, (con't)

Here's what my beef is and what I've been trying to say: The biggest culprit in the War on Terror and what now seems all but inevitable Gulf II is Oil. I'm not saying the war is all about oil, but it is a huge component and the main fundraising cabability that our enemies have. We have compromised ourselves ethically, politically, and financially over and over in pursuit of a commodity, a commodity I remind you that is heavily subsidized. Heavily meaning as in hundreds of billions of dollars, something conservatives are supposed to hate. Here's one of the articles I linked -

VITAL STATISTICS: 15 Largest US Government Subsidies to the Oil IndustryThe following list details the millions of dollars of US taxpayer money that the US government gives to oil industry in subsidies. Subsidies are sums of money given by the government specifically to support and/or stabilize industry. They are given without any obligation to pay them back. All dollar amounts are in MILLIONS.

1. Oil Defense: Defense operations to protect and secure Persian Gulf oil shipments and infrastructure.
US$10,459 - US$23,333

2. Strategic Petroleum Reserve: Storage of crude oil to be used during price shocks and supply disruptions to stabilize domestic supply.
US$41,560 - US$5,427

3. Foreign Tax Credit: Allows a portion of foreign tax payments to be credited against, rather than deducted from, US taxes due.
US$486 - US$1,057

4. Accelerated depreciation of machinery and equipment: Allows machinery and equipment within the oil industry to be depreciated more quickly than their actual service lives.
US$720 - US$976

5. Excess of percentage over cost depletion: Allows firms to deduct more than their investment in oil properties from their taxes.
US$335 - US$746

6. Public liability for plugging, abandoning, and remediation of onshore wells: Annualized shortfall in bonding (insurance) levels needed to cover existing liabilities in on-going operations.
US$119 - US$451

For more just go back to the link I postedabove, there's another eight more listed.

By the way the $418 million you speak of is just ONE PROGRAM, for ONE YEAR'S BUDGET cited by the Cato Institute. You can see the stat for yourself by clicking onto the link and reading their report.

Oil is why we totally bend over not just backwards but forwards (if you know what I mean) to accomodate the Saudis and other nations that hate us and fund terrorism (I can reference that with evidense, it just takes more time). A real solution does mean becoming energy independent. I'm glad we can agree on something.

And I am sorry to say Davey than ANWAR is a very small spit in the bucket solution. There was an article disputing the amount of oil in ANWAR, how both the oil industry and the environmental lobby got it wrong. The article cites info straight from the Dept of Energy, so if you disagree with those stats take it up with them. The article discusses that it's only worth drilling for if oil is at a certain price per barrel, meaning economically recoverable oil. From this article (linked) -

At $15 per barrel in 1996 dollars, if you take the mean estimate, there's actually no economically recoverable oil there. If you look at the $20 per barrel case, it's 3.2 billion barrels. If you look at the $25 case, it's actually 5.6 billion barrels.

The United States consumed an average of 19.5 million barrels of oil per day in 2000, according to the Department of Energy. At the BEST CASE SCENARIO, when oil is more expensive, $25 a barrel, the 5.6 billion barrels in ANWAR would solve our problem for 288 days. Two Hundred Eighty Eight DAYS!!!! (5.6 billion barrels of gas in ANWAR / 19.5 million barrels a day = 287.18). And what happens after that, anybody?

Currently we produce only about 25% of the fuel we need domestically (I could be off, please correct me if I'm wrong). Drilling ANWAR only adds at the most another 5% for an extended period of time. That is not a solution. For every gallon of gas you purchase approxiamatetly 10 cents goes to the house of Saud, the same nation that helps fund terrorism, the same nation that so many conservatives accuse of having blood on their hands but are totally unwilling to do anything about it except displace Caribou in Alaska. This is not to mention all the money that goes to Iraq, and all other oil producing nations that hate our guts and then turn around and give OUR MONEY that we pay to them and give it to terrorists. Drilling ANWAR means that Saudis will wind up with only about 9.5 cents per gallon. Does that half a penny make you feel better now? Instead of the terrosits flying first class they'll have to take coach.

Drilling ANWAR is not a solution, and if you can't see that after all the yelling and screaming and bloggin I've done, if you can't conceed this one little indisputable fact because I'm a liberal or any other number of reasons, then I have no idea what to tell you. If this is you solution then God help us we are totally fucked!

On the other hand higher CAFE standards are at least a much bigger step in the right direction. Democrat Kerry and Republican (or RINO if it suits you better) McCain have proposed higher standards and it won't go thru, thank you President Bush. Democrats (excpet maybe the ones from Michigan) support this idea. This is part of the solution, so yes Dems have ideas other than throw money at it. Bush's counter proposal is raise the standard 1.2 Gallons. F$%#ing fantastic strategy.

I know what you're thinking. "Thats more than Clinton" You're right, it is more. But 3000+ Americans weren't killed while Clinton was President. Huffington woke to our national dirty little secret (oil funds terrorism), when are you? Before you go ape, let me clarify this that I am NOT ASKING YOU TO EXONERATE CLINTON. Just please hear me out and focus on the present.

If Bush said tomorrow "We need to do everything within our power to get rid our our out of control oil habit", at least admitted we have a problem with Saudi Arabia that he has overlooked until now(which he and many of his cronies / supporters / contributers are HUGE benficiary), and actually made good on those words, you have no idea how impressed I would be. I can forgive. I can't say it would change my vote but I'd call me Senators, my Rep and say this is the way to go, heap praise in the President, as long as it was half way decent plan. But that's probably not going to happen. The hydrogen mention in the SotU address is nice, if it happens and I'm betting it most probably won't. A reminder - he has already backed out of his campaign promise about passing legislation about lowering emmisions. I had no idea that promise was made but I would have bet a hefty chunk in vegas if they gave odds on presidential campaign promises. Anyone who would think that after all those campaign contributions from Big Oil that Bush would do anything of the sort is smoking something. And to think that now he'll really push the hydrogren thing? It's most probably a delaying tactic for a real solution like higher CAFE standards, but thats just my not so humble opinion.

All this factual info comes to this - I read plenty 'o criticism coming from the right about Saudi Arabia. WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT? The only thing I've heard is "Let's invade SA and take back their nationalized oil fields." thank you Anne Coulter. God help us if this ever happens.... but at the very least you will have finally done something instead of blowing hot air and posting on the net, as profoundly stupid as that idea is. At least you can finally say you've overcome your Dissassociation Disorder. Coulter still rips into Dems / Libs but says nothing to the President. What a pathetic loser.

By the way, just to clarify things, I really don't want to see the US do anything like that. Even if Saudi Arabia deserves it.

What I have said is conservatives have kept mum on this one issue and don't criticize the President on something so glaringly obvious, and it's profoundly disturbing. Dissociative Disorder is a condition diagnosed by Psycologists, here's an oversimplified textbook definition -

What Is Dissociation? - Dissociation is a mental process which produces a lack of connection in a person's thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity.

I'm hearing everything you're saying. Are you hearing me out? Did you read my post about telling off the Saudis. And I am well aware measures have to be taken (become more energy independent) before we can tell them off.

I'm saying it's a lot easier to tell the Saudis and the Arab world how you feel thru your dollars instead of blood and bullets. Instead you have managed in your heads to separate our totally ridiculous totally enabling totally ass backwards foreign policy and our incredibly compromised President and his entire administration in regards to oil and your hatred for Saudi Arabia. It's time to wake up out of your petroleum induced slumber. You hate those bastards but you keep giving them more money and you're unwilling or unable to do anything to curb our national addiction to oil. You keep enabling the American companies (some of which are owned by an awful lot of people in this administration) that give these theocratic ass backwards American hate fommenting nations their money. You don't even say anything to the President when it comes to how we altered our immigration policy.

I know that every heartfelt GOPer loves to blame our immigrant problem on the Democrats. Please do me a favor and answer this very simple question - After 9.11 the President changed the US immigration policy for a slew of Muslim nations that were considered a threat. Saudi Arabia wasn't on that list. Why not? OR more importantly WHY DO YOU THINK our President didn't apply this policy for Saudi Arabia, the nation that produced 15 of the 19 hijackers from 9.11?

I know why, I'd be happy to tell you why, but if you're going to be so foolish as to ignore this and many other clear as day, tell tale signs and continue to pull this ridiculous charade by sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling "Clinton and Liberals and Chomsky, oh my!", well then the only thing I can say is what I've said before. In light of the overwhelming and damning evidense I've cited and the common sense I know you have, if you're gonna spend your time berating a bunch of pacifist hippies while the real criminals do their dirty work inside the White House because of your dissassociative disorder, all I can say is WE ARE TRULY FUCKED!!!! Can you hear that loud and clear?


And now Davey, my special note for you;

Intersting reading you linked too, by the way. I especially enjoyed the Gregory Palast site. If anyone wants a laugh - head on over and click the "Theft of Presidency" section. There you can read juicy articles about how a racist Jeb Bush suppressed the black vote. Yet somehow, even though our own media was salivating for just such a story - it didn't get much play here. Only in Britian. I wonder if that could have been because of a lack of actual facts??? Hmmmmm. - by Davey

Alright, one last off the subject post - do yourself a favor about Palast, read this first- it's about the list of the voters that were purged from the Florida voter roles pre 2000 election day. People were purged because they were "criminals". There are a slew of invalid purges, including one guy that was convicted of a crime in 2007. Click here is you dare! Straight outta Minority Report yo.

Hey, maybe it's just a coinky dink that most of the voters are (a)Black and (b)Democrats. But if you can look at this, coupled with the fact that Jeb and Katherine Harris have in fact admitted some fault (they did settle with the NAACP), and then see nothing other than the "liberal news media" that you want to see, well then there is absolutely nothing I can say to.

By the way PBS produced a program in Florida 2000 and included Palast's report, but many didn't show it because they felt it was inappropriate after 9.11. They thought it might ruffle too many feathers. They were probably right. Yeah, the European Press loves this stuff. But it doesn't dispute the facts.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

I'm a little behind on the times, but now that things have slowed at work a little (I hope it doesn't stay that way) I've had a chance to catch up on some reading.

BMA's biggest beef has always been the propagation of bullshit, something this administration relies on heavily. This entry that I came across in the New Republic says it, and ties in nicely with a post/running dialog with contributer to BMA Public Citizen from a couple of weeks back.It's about compassionate conservatism being a marketing ploy and nothing more. The United States of Advertising is right.

Taken from the New Republic's &c. a Daily Journal of Politics.

Last week we marveled at Karl Rove's ability to keep his conservative base in line while the president delivered a rather moderate-sounding State of the Union address. Our hunch was that Rove had used his pre-speech meeting with top conservative operatives to assure them that the president's policies were as conservative as ever even though his words might sound a little mushy.
From the looks of the budget the White House released yesterday, Rove et al have been scrupulously true to their word: $1.5 trillion in new tax cuts over ten years; less spending (ostensibly by cracking down on waste and fraud) on programs--like the earned income tax credit, school lunches, and Medicaid--that benefit the poor; large cuts in Medicare and Medicaid spending overall.

Give Rove credit: The formula of talking compassion while slashing key government programs and cutting taxes for the wealthy really does work. Most of the country ends up believing Bush is a moderate, while conservatives read the fine print and take heart that he's not. What's amazing is that the White House is now basically owning up to this strategy.

A pre-State of the Union Address entry on &c. is referenced here as well.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Maybe you've heard about some of the problems going on in West Virginia or New Jersey (NYT article, requires registration) with Doctors striking because of the exhorbitant rise in malpractice insurance.

This is generally followed by conservatives ranting and raving about tort reform and those awful that trial lawyers being responsible. Then aim is taken at their Democratic enablers who are beholden to them. In fact there have been laws passed to restrict 'pain and suffering' awards in lawsuits thinking that this will curb insurance premiums which seem to be rising at exponential rates.

When this happens, do yourself a favor, please read this article in the Detroit Free Press first -

In Michigan, for example, where damage caps like the ones Bush seeks nationwide were implemented more than eight years ago, medical malpractice insurance rates are among the highest in the nation -- and rising. Detroit internists and general surgeons pay the second-highest malpractice insurance rates in the nation, according to a survey by the Chicago-based Medical Liability Monitor. Michigan remains on an American Medical Association list of "problem states" with high malpractice insurance rates nearly a decade after damage caps were instituted.

Data from other states where damage caps have been imposed further demonstrate that limitations on damages do not halt rising insurance and other health care costs, as the president contends. In California, malpractice insurance premiums increased by 190 percent during the first 12 years after implementation of a $250,000 damage cap, according to a 1995 study by a California research group. A bipartisan legislative report in West Virginia, where surgeons facing soaring insurance rates staged a walkout earlier this month, concluded that limitations imposed on the judicial system has "no immediate effect on the cost of liability insurance for health care providers."

Many doctors blame trial lawyers for driving up insurance costs with frivolous lawsuits and unnecessarily large jury awards. But the New Jersey Chapter of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) said any premiums hikes were due to diminished investment portfolio returns among insurance firms.

Taken from NYT article linked earlier -
``Jury awards have been relatively consistent,'' said ATLA New Jersey President Bruce Stern, who cited a report by the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen that said malpractice payouts and premiums have hardly budged since 1992.

Insurance premiums aren't rising because of trial lawyers getting more money. It's because the Insurance Industry has lost so much money in the stock market. -

The property/casualty insurance industry's $7.billioin net loss after taxes in 2001, its first-ever net loss for a full year, was in stark contrast to its $20.6 billion in net income in 2000. Factors contributing to the net loss in 2001 included higher losses on underwriting due in part to the terrorist attack on September 11 and sharply lower gains on investments because of declines in interest rates and the stock market.
- from an Insurance trade magazine article

Even the Republicans know it. This whole tort reform is a bait and switch deal, where something (malpractice suits/trial lawyers) that has nothing to do with the problem (rising malpractice insurance) gets blamed and is threated with regulation, while the real culprit (poor money management by the unregulated Insurance Industry) goes scott free. So we're gonna regulate payouts on court decisions, something that has not changed in correspondence to the rising insurance premiums of recent years, while regulation the way the Insurance Industry doesn't get discussed. FYI - the Insurance Industry is a sector of the business world that doesn't play by the same rules as every other sector. From the DFP article again;

Insurance companies enjoy a special legal status that is not available to car manufacturers, retailers or airlines: They are largely exempt from federal antitrust laws. This exemption makes the insurance industry ripe for price-fixing and other anticompetitive behaviors that hurt consumers and drive up prices.

Legislation introduced last week by Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., who is seeking to replace Bush in the White House, and others would strip insurers of this shield from the market pressures and legal restrictions applicable to other American businesses.

Ensuring legitimate competition in the insurance industry would make it more difficult for fiscally irresponsible insurers to attempt to recoup substantial losses due to stock market declines or other events by hiking insurance rates. Insurance companies are uniquely able to attempt to pass off their losses through sharply increased rates because they do not face the competitive considerations that Ford Motor Co. or Kmart must consider when pricing products.

This is so typical of the political games that seem like the norm in this nation, at least lately. There are too many people in government who seem more obsessed with the methodology of solving a problem rather that getting the problem solved.

Here's more information on this subject.

The stock market is killing your life insurance - If your premiums are paid with investment returns, you may find yourself with reduced coverage or a policy that expires years early. (from

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Before we annihilate Saddam and all of Iraq, make sure to write a letter of thanks to Saddam and all his enablers like Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell. -

US buys up Iraqi oil to stave off crisis - Seizing reserves will be an allied priority if forces go in - Faisal Islam and Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow, Sunday January 26, 2003, from The Observer;

Facing its most chronic shortage in oil stocks for 27 years, the US has this month turned to an unlikely source of help - Iraq. Weeks before a prospective invasion of Iraq, the oil-rich state has doubled its exports of oil to America, helping US refineries cope with a debilitating strike in Venezuela.

After the loss of 1.5 million barrels per day of Venezuelan production in December the oil price rocketed, and the scarcity of reserves threatened to do permanent damage to the US oil refinery and transport infrastructure. To keep the pipelines flowing, President Bush stopped adding to the 700m barrel strategic reserve.

But ultimately oil giants such as Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell saved the day by doubling imports from Iraq from 0.5m barrels in November to over 1m barrels per day to solve the problem. Essentially, US importers diverted 0.5m barrels of Iraqi oil per day heading for Europe and Asia to save the American oil infrastructure.

Great - we'll give Saddam plenty 'o cash so he can go on a shopping spree right before we vaporize his country.

Or better yet, we can use the fact that he has money as proof that he has WMD because he has the funds to purchase WMD....

Money, which he got from us.....

By purchasing Iraqi Oil.....

So Saddam can purchase more WMD

Does this feel like some twisted Terry Gilliam version of Groundhog Day to you too?