Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Which/Who Came 1st? Bush?? Or Rush???

The Phony Soldier???
or the Fake Pundit???

George Bush Has Squandered the Peace Dividend

We have gone from Cold War I to Cold War II.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

NSA pursued Illegal Warrantless Wire-Tapping Before 9-11

U.S. Punished Phone Firm, Qwest, for not complying with request.

The NSA proposal was made at a Feb. 27, 2001 meeting. So less than six weeks after taking office, the administration is pursuing warrantless eavesdropping spying on Americans.

So this un-Constitutional wiretapping was not merely a response to terrorist attacks. In place before 9-11, they did not materially help prevent them. Qwest allegedly missed out on fat NSA contracts because of their refusal.

Washington Post

Who Is In Charge in Iraq?

From The Iraqi Book of the Dead by Jane Stillwater
....Why would a morgue be so dangerous? “Because the Shia go there to pick off the Sunnis who go there to claim dead relatives and the Sunnis go there to pick off the Shia who have also gone there to claim their dead.“ So. Death, if you are still looking around for thy sting, I guess your best bet of finding it would be in an Iraqi morgue.

Whenever American soldiers say goodbye to each other over here, they always say, “Take care.“ For Americans in Iraq, Death rides in every vehicle, haunts every road, lives in every hooch. It’s life on the edge. One never knows.

When I first came to Iraq, I thought I was here to write stories. But now I think that I’m just here to be a witness — a witness to the power of death. Make no mistake, boys and girls. The Grim Reaper is the real governor of Iraq no matter who sits in parliament or how fortified the Green Zone is. And, knowing that, my next question should be, “Will I die here too?“ No, not me. I am immortal! I can’t even imagine a world without out me. It’s hard for any one to conceive of their own death.

But I know what the next question I should ask after that one should be. “How can the supposedly-idealistic United Nations, the supposedly-democratic United States, the supposedly-civilized European Union or even Russia or China allow a country to exist with Death as its commander-in-chief?“ They overthrew Saddam here. They should overthrow Death too. But they won’t. Instead, Death has been given permanent membership on the UN Security Council. Death is now a member of the G-8.

People here in Iraq talk about death all the time. It has become a permanent part of their lives. Death never gets invited to dinner. But he comes. He never gets any votes here but year after year he is re-elected. In this country, he’s the one you go to if you want to get anything done. In Iraq, Death is the ultimate problem-solver. Betsy, the only way in the world that there will be any kind of truce between Al Qaeda, the Shia, the Sunni, the Americans, the Iraqi mafia, the fundamentalists, etc. is if they all get together and vote Death out of office. But that just isn’t happening here — and won’t be happening any time soon...

Bush is Betting on Hillary

In the clearest sign of a shift in gear, DOD Sec'y Gates is to appoint John Hamre, a former official in President Bill Clinton’s administration, to chair the Defense Policy Board once led by Richard Perle, a leading neoconservative advocate of the invasion of Iraq. The board’s job will be to prepare for the transition to a new administration in 2008, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

Hamre, who was Bill Clinton’s deputy defence secretary in the 1990s, has been highly critical of the conduct of the war on terror. In The Washington Post last year he wrote:
The policies that led to Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, secret renditions and warrantless wiretaps have undermined America’s towering moral authority.
In common with Gates, Hamre is skeptical about the value of the Iraq troop surge. He recently served on a bipartisan commission on Iraq chaired by James Jones, the former NATO commander. In evidence to Congress last month, Hamre said: “Absent political reconciliation, it’s hard to see how this [the war] ends well.”

However, Hamre, who heads the influential Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, also argued that America “will be hurt if we crawl out or run out of Iraq”. He believes the next president should maintain a vital but scaled-down presence in the country in order to oversee the training of Iraqi security forces and to “direct operations against known bad guys”.

Lawrence Korb, a defence expert at the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank, described Hamre’s imminent appointment as a “brilliant move” which would mark a dramatic break with Perle’s era. “Most people think the next president will be a Democrat and Gates, who has been around for a long time, believes it is his job to ensure that national security is not affected,” Korb said.

Times on Line

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What Is a War-Monger?

A war-monger is one who peddles wars.

But Vigilante is right. Only wars can be peddled. No one has ever heard of an occupation-mongerer.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Democracy Not the Wave of the Future

Quote of the Day

A recent BBC poll (August) places into doubt the supposition the liberal democracy is the wave of the future. We knew that. Glib pressuring of Russia in the 1990's has lead to a Putinesque roll-back into autarchy. Bush's democracy crusade in the Middle East has given democracy a bad name. While a treasure for some, it is not a universal aspiration for mankind. As the novelist E M Forster summed it up in 1951,
So two cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give three.
The Jury is out.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Rumsfeld Called it "Old Europe"

The Republicans would like Americans to think that everything in Europe is falling apart, but too bad the truth doesn't quite match up to their stories. Compared to other regions in the world, including the US, Europe is looking pretty good.

Here are 5 myths about sick old Europe:
  1. The sclerotic European economy is incapable of leading the world.
  2. Nobody wants to invest in European companies and economies because lack of competitiveness makes them a poor bet.
  3. Europe is the land of double-digit unemployment.
  4. The European "welfare state" hamstrings businesses and hurts the economy.
  5. Europe is likely to be held hostage to its dependence on Russia and the Middle East for most of its energy needs.

One Man, One Vote

Justice Demanded for Anna Politkovskaya

Over 60 celebrities and dignitaries have signed a letter calling on Russia to bring the killers of journalist Anna Politkovskaya to justice.

The letter's signatories include the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Desmond Tutu, the American actress Susan Sarandon and the British playwright Harold Pinter, and the widows of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl and Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko.
We call on the Russian government to bring to justice, in full conformity with international standards, both those who killed Anna Politkovskaya and those who have ordered her murder.

We also call on the world's leaders to pledge to do everything in their power to protect the journalists and human rights defenders who work in areas of war and conflict, and who speak out on behalf of the victims, as Anna did.

We owe it to the memory of Anna to protect the very few who still speak out, on behalf of those to whom nobody wants to listen.
Politkovskaya was found shot dead in a lift at her Moscow home on 7 October 2006.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Lancaster, PA

You know, when you give a man more money in his pocket _ in this case, a woman _ more money in her pocket to expand a business, they build new buildings. And when somebody builds a new building, somebody has got to come and build the building.

And when the building expanded, it prevented (sic) additional opportunities for people to work. Tax cuts matter. I'm going to spend some time talking about it.

My job is a decision-making job. And as a result, I make a lot of decisions. I delegate to good people. I always tell Condi Rice, `I want to remind you, Madam Secretary, who has the Ph.D. and who was the C student. And I want to remind you who the adviser is and who the president is.'

I got a lot of Ph.D.-types and smart people around me who come into the Oval Office and say, `Mr. President, here's what's on my mind.' And I listen carefully to their advice. But having gathered the device (sic), I decide, you know, I say, `This is what we're going to do.' And it's `Yes, sir, Mr. President.' And then we get after it, implement policy.

I'm not quite through. And it's a long answer, I'm sorry. It's called filibustering.I think that was your question, wasn't it? The answer was so long I lost track.

The 9-11 Truthers Movement

I don't cotton to conspiracy theorists in general. So these revisionists in the 9-11 don't really distract me too much. I have little enough time as it is. I have been looking for someone else to do the work of refuting them for me. Their wheels are better than what I could come up with. Here are two sources I would go to, were I uncertain enough to wrestle with the truth of 9-11:
What I don't get is why is it so hard for the American mind to wrap itself around a notion that its own technology was used by 19 Arabs to kill 3,000 Americans - aided of course by an incompetent President whom Americans, themselves, elected.

Boycott Chinese Olympics?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

First Item

Now is the time for all good computers to come to the aid of their country.
Now is the time for all good computers to come to the aid of their country.
Now is the time for all good computers to come to the aid of their country.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Rules

  1. Subject & Content: Politics and Policies. Daily horoscopes, Scientology, religious scriptures and the like will not please me. Eclecticism is preferred over monotony.
  2. Scope: whatever you are reading and whatever’s on your mind that you don’t want to lose track of. Half-baked, partially completed thoughts. Zingers and quotes.
  3. Themes: I am attempting to strike a theme with a graphic backdrop to the blog title. Themes will address week's or weekend's news cycle. I would prefer that contributions be related to this theme. Contributors may suggest themes in the comments to this thread.
  4. Brevity is a major consideration: less than 5 column inches is preferred. In most cases that is one paragraph, one photo + caption, or one You-Tube. Anything more is probably more appropriate for your own site. A link to a specific item would be useful. (Some call it pimping; I call it linking.)
  5. Good taste is a major consideration: if you have been invited, your tastes have been vetted to a certain extent.
  6. Monopolies: No more than one pop per poster per day is a rule of thumb. It’s not in granite. But, if you have more than one thing to say here, it better be good!
  7. Pimping of your own weblogs is especially encouraged in comments. As time permits, I will blogroll all members’ sites. But please no naked links: They’re ugly, messy, and I don’t want to spend my time cleaning up. Treat this as your cabaña as well as mine.
  8. Crossposting will be moderated heavily.
  9. Comments will be monitored retroactively. No anonymous commenting
  10. Participation is a major consideration. This is our cocktail party so don’t bore our readers with overly long comments. Succinctness is sacred.
  11. Membership can be revoked at any time.
  12. Membership is not closed. Apply below!
  13. Suggestions: These are rules of thumb, written in liquid plasma; not in granite. Suggestions are welcomed below!