Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Israel, Hamas, Fatah

Israel now has a fundamentalist radical Islamist government on its border, Hamas in Gaza, which is by policy statement dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Fatah, while more moderate in its policies, is lead by a weakened party apparatus and its control of the West Bank is scarcely a given. The Palestinian fracture presents both threat and opportunity. Something more intelligent than the previous US policies is required to take advantage of opportunities and avoid catastrophes.

The data regarding failed states and the rise of radicalism is clear, just as is the correlation between successful states and social stability. These relationships are more constant than anything regarding religions, culture, or other societal influences. There is a real key to policy decisions in this. Consider the rise of Hamas in Gaza; it was a real option in the face of Fatah corruption and economic failure and lack of progress with Israel. The corruption of Fatah was its own doing and may have relationships to the economic failure of the Palestinians, but other elements made greater impacts. While Fatah failed to adequately control attacks on Israel, Israel’s own policies fueled the attacks. A state that cannot employ its people and trade its goods is going to fail economically and from there, politically. Israel is THE trading opportunity and employment pool, if they cut that to the bone, their neighbor is going to fail. The Palestinians are not just going to go away from a failed state, they are going to still be there and be furious.

Israel certainly faces difficulties with Palestinian terrorists in Gaza and the West Bank infiltrating them but seem caught in a Catch 22 situation, open borders allow terrorist infiltration, closed borders cause economic desperation in the territories. Israel must begin to see to providing an opportunity for the Palestinians to have some form of economic prosperity. Israel is not alone in this quandary, the US policy of blocking or refusing aid to the Palestinian Authority due to the participation of Hamas has now put Hamas in control of Gaza through the disintegration of the Palestinian economy and with it their social structure. At this juncture it would be possible to play the West Bank against Gaza by providing aid and social restructuring to the West Bank and improving their situation as a comparison for the probable failure of Gaza under Hamas. The trick, of course, is to smother the corruption of Fatah. This means a real on site presence.

Israel can no longer be allowed to operate with a whip hand only in its relations with the Palestinians and must begin to redress some of real grievances of the Palestinians. This means US politicians are going to have to face the Israeli lobby in our political arena.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Religion, What Is It Good For?

If this question has meaning for you, then something is going on. Maybe some of the stuff paraded as religious prohibitions has gotten to you. Maybe some of the mockery of religion has gotten to you. Maybe some of the political usage of religion has gotten to you. Well, sure that stuff has gotten to me, but...

Any tool can be misused, that's the nature of tools. A hammer is used for that excellent thing called building, it can also be an instrument of murder, that really qualifies as misuse. I am going to qualify what I have to say by stating up front that I have no identifiable religion, I belong to no brand of religion but I do have an understanding of the drive to have a relationship with a Higher Power and to achieve some sort of understanding of our place in the universe - because it has been important to me. This is the real role of religion, it is a codification of human relations with a god. A religion sets out what that god is in reference to humans, a major undertaking. A religion defines its god in those terms - primarily in respect to human conduct.

Religions tend to promote behavior that is conducive to social interactions, means of living together that minimize strife and maximize social contentment. You will find those in the Primary portion of the religion - its founding "documents" if you will. For instance, the direct quotes of Jesus Christ are the founding principles or documents. A close examination of those principles reveals something interesting, divisiveness is not there. The core of religion is not the cause of the problems I referred to in the opening paragraph, but there is something going on.

A study of history will show that religions have been utilized for both great social advances and repression, but a study of the religions themselves does not show them to be oriented in that manner, to the contrary, religions seem to aim for higher goals and the betterment of humanity. There are those who would turn them from tools to weapons and there are sure signs of this motive in the very words of those. When the words evoke superiority or fear and loathing something very bad has happened, word of healing and comfort have been turned to the ends of personal gain.

That gain need not be monetary or even political, it can be personal, lifting a person to an elevated position in regards to his fellows or position in lifestyle, making people in difficult circumstances "better" than those in more favored circumstances. There is a powerful appeal to this and unfortunately it is difficult to counter, because we are dealing with faith rather than logic and facts. What makes the issue even more difficult is the attitude of superiority evidenced by those opposing this mindset. This is the crux of this post, religion is not the problem and it is not a proper target for that opposition, it is rather the misuse of religion that is the proper target. I stand by this even for those who regard religions as superstition, whether they are or are not simple superstitions is not the business that needs addressed, it is the proposition that inhumane behavior is somehow godly that needs addressing.

Attacking religion simply causes a backlash, these historically deeply held beliefs with huge social organizations connected, an attack presumes an idea of winning - not likely. Much that is right in the world owes its currency in thought to religions. Taking again Christianity as an example, one need only to compare the tenets brought forth at that time with the ordinary social norms to understand what magnitude of change was instituted.

I don't propose to have answers to the great problems of the day, but I do propose a refining of tactics, a narrowing of targeting to the misuse of religion rather than the existence of it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Nothing Today

Ten hours of driving a 1978 3/4T Chevy utility box truck to Portland and back has fried me, I ripped off a post for Central Sanity and cross posted it to ME Journal and suddenly ran out of gas. I've spent the weekend putting and engine and 4 speed tranny in my 74 K5 Blazer and that's not completely reassembled yet and just moved equipment onto a new job and started it Monday and on Tuesday morning discovered that a needed piece of equipment was not available and thus a drive to Portland to buy said thing.

The supply center was 1 block from DPO headquarters so a stop and say howdy was required, by request Gus ( all 160 pounds of long white hair and slobber) was brought in for introductions. Great White Pyrenees drool - lots. He was a huge hit with all the women. He's seriously spoiled and pouts massively if he doesn't get to "go" when the work truck does.

So this is your post or go over to one of the sites mentioned. g'nite...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Destruction Equals Progress

You've actually got to hand it to Tony Snow, he found a way to link failure to success in today's Press Briefing:

Snow: "As the president has pointed out before, when pro-democracy movements seem to be making some progress — Lebanon, for instance — there are actions that are designed to derail it. This is part of the larger war on terror.."

If the magnitude of the actions to derail this movement in Iraq are a measure of it's progress, this thing must be a roaring success. How odd that I hadn't noticed, must be those defeatist news organizations...

There's something these people ignore and it is so blatantly simple and straight forward that, well, I guess it just bears ignoring: if there is such widespread enthusiasm for democracy in Iraq then why is it relatively safe to be a terrorist? It has been pointed out that this is a 'weapons rich' environment, most people can get their hands on dangerous items, but it seems the violently enthusiastic are all dedicated to something other than the rule of law and democracy. There are neighbors who are busy killing Shia/Sunni and Americans and in general causing real trouble, a bee in an American ear would certainly be useful or a bullet in the neighbor's head. Sure, that's risky behavior, but gee, so is just being in Iraq.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Republican Religious Bigotry - oh no

Surely Republicans wouldn't stoop to religious bigotry in their campaigns against each other? Apparently a Brownback aide forwarded an e-mail from an interest group seeking fact checking on a series of questions regarding Mormonism. AP reports that Emma Nemecek, an Iowa field director for Brownback, sent Iowa Republican leaders the email containing these kinds of statements:

"Theologically, the only thing Christianity and the LDS church has in common is the name of Jesus Christ, and the LDS Jesus is not the same Jesus of the Christian faith" and "The LDS church has never been accepted by the Christian Council of Churches."

Brownback apologized and Romney's campaign accepted. Everybody concerned talked about how sad it was...

Oh yeah, right. It's so sad and unfortunate as their surrogates at Fox and right wing talk radio talk about how "liberal" Christians don't believe in anything. They scoff at groups like the Church of Christ and Unitarianism as being religions in name only and then they act horrified when their crap comes out in their campaigns? What do they think as they amp up the rhetoric about being godly and their talking heads rant is going to happen with their "faithful?" Gee, maybe they'll act on their superiority

They don't get it, they rant about Islamofascism and godless atheists and how god driven they are and don't see that they're going to eat their own? I'm sick of their god crap, I don't care who you pray to or don't, what I care about is, do you have good proposals for our fellow citizens?

What frosts me is that they always seem to politic on the prohibitions of their religion, not the affirmations.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Libby and Truth

I'd thought myself done with the Scooter nonsense, makes not a particle of difference what happens, he'll come out in fine professional and economic terms and considering the amnesia afflicting America, his reappearance on the scene will be greeted with, "who?"

I'm not particularly pleased nor am I surprised and I was pretty much willing to leave it alone. Right up until the flood of "he's such a nice guy" junk I was willing. I've called Mitt either an incompetent or liar for saying Saddam didn't let inspectors into Iraq and that's why we had to have our little adventure over there so I do want to be fair to another Republican. Let's get one thing straight first, Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice not being a lousy campaign speaker. This was a deliberate act followed by further matching conduct. He lied to federal investigators and a grand jury in order to throw rocks into the machinery of justice regarding an act that may well have had fatal consequences and he did it as a federal employee at the highest levels of government.

Now let's take that apart a little since we're talking about character, he lied for personal, professional, and political gain. He lied to thwart the pursuit of justice. He did so repeatedly. He did so when provided with an opportunity to correct his previous course.

He is a LIAR. He is an oath violator in court and in service to the State. He may not beat his children and wife and he may drive a nice car and he may even not stick up convenience stores but he did steal from the United States of America it's honor and it's duty to do justice. He is a thief of the most destructive sort, he steals what cannot be replaced, the non-material, the essence. His apologists are blind or partisan hacks with no more honor than Scooter himself.

I don't know what it is that passes for a good man in the sewers these people run in, but out here you trust a good man, you believe a good man, a good man keeps his word, a good man cares if another is harmed by his actions and tries to avoid it. This man has demonstrated himself beyond reasonable doubt to be a villain of the lowest sort, a lying oath breaking thug while every day kids with nothing to gain fulfill their oaths in the War he lied to advance.

Take that measure you beltway pukes. By all means the puke in chief should pardon this guy just to show where he stands. No, this doesn't piss me off... At least you've finally come out and shown us what you are - pukes.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Who's Ahead? Jay Rosen...

Jay Rosen over at Press Think is a writer I admire for good clear writing and a propensity to look outside the ordinary press models. His article "Who's Ahead? No, Seriously..." takes issue with the decades old horse race model of political reporting, he'd much rather have a who's ahead in ideas race or poll. He believes the model is used as both an 'objective journalism' tool and because it's easy. (there's more to it, but I'm not going to re-write his superior writing) He also believes it has outlasted its usefulness.

I happen to agree with all his reasons for distaste for the model, and another of my own, it is by definition inaccurate, especially this time around. It is a snapshot taken at a nearly meaningless moment and taken to mean considerably more than it possibly could. As an example, Hillary leads the race by having 36% (or so) among 8 candidates and this means what? Does it mean 64% do not like Hillary? Does it mean 64% just happen to like some other more than Hillary? Does it mean the Clinton name trumps "X" or that woman trumps man or that her votes and policy statements trump? If any of those are so why and by how much and what is reasonably disregarded?

Jay's proposal cuts around these questions and actually informs. I want to know what (in this case) Democratic Americans are thinking. I'm not in the least interested in a beauty pagent, I don't care if you could "land a 747" on Mitt's shoulders and I don't care that Hillary is named Clinton. Our version of political reportage has become so bloodlessly 'objective' in the sense of putting whatever knuckle head will take an opposing view that it is meaningless and talking about a physical attribute makes as much sense.

Well, there's some good writing over there and some ideas so click on over...

Another Posting Venue

As you may know I've been doing a little blogging over at Central Sanity to provide some "left perspective" although some might disagree with that appellation. Ron Beasley of Middle Earth Journal has invited me to do some blogging at his site. When I accepted both of these invitations I included the caveat that I am somewhat time restricted. I work and I also have a wife, who seems to think I should pay some attention to her.

I started this blog as a campaign site and after not winning that election I moved this into an advocacy and commentary site because I'd built a readership that wanted to read what I have to say and I don't "go quietly into the night." Because a bunch of you keep stopping by, this will remain my primary focus in blogging, even though my readership here is smaller than my other venues.

Central Sanity is a bit more restrained than I am here, I can do that, but most of what I post here isn't suitable over there. Ron's site Middle Earth is a bit more firebrand in orientation so cross posts aren't problem, though just recycling stuff doesn't seem quite right.

On the matter of time restrictions, what I write takes considerably more time to do than to read, what you can get through in a couple minutes may take an hour or more. I try very hard to source what I use from others and I also try to have more than just one source so what you get is accurate, if from my point of view.

Make sure to check these other Blogs out, at least to see who would want me to write for them. They have good contributors and can stir you up - and that's at least part of the point of reading these things.

Incompetent Vs Loon

Somehow the Bush Administration leaves us with a rather depressing choice, outright incompetence or loony tunes. Now they're giving us the added spectacle of those two in a fray. Yes, it's Cheney vs. Rice and the ring is Iran. Cheney likes bombs and Rice is thrashing around. At the moment Rice seems to be on top. However since the Rice move to join with the EU, Russia, and China to pressure Iran to stop enriching uranium they've added around 1,000 centrifuges and the IAEA predicts if Iran can get past its technical problems they may reach 8,000.

This stirs the pot. George II has already stated that he will not tolerate a nuclear Iran, what precisely that means is open to debate. While he talks tough about Iran they are busy roiling the waters in the Middle East.

The NYT reports JD Crouch, recently departed deputy national security advisor, held a meeting with White House officials to inform them that Bush wanted an appraisal. The chief Iran strategist, Undersecretary of State R Nicholas Burns told them the negotiations with Iran could still be going on after the end of the Bush Presidency. While this makes no one particularly happy, the hawks figure this means Bush has no line in the sand Iran cannot cross.

Josh Bolton says force or regime change are the only options and David Wurmser told policy groups that Cheney thinks Rice is failing and that by spring 08 George will have to decide about military action. (Cheney won't talk about it and says he's fully on board with Bush) To understand what you're dealing with, Norman Podhoretz in Commentary magazine wrote 'The Case for Bombing Iran'

“In short, the plain and brutal truth is that if Iran is to be prevented from developing a nuclear arsenal, there is no alternative to the actual use of military force — any more than there was an alternative to force if Hitler was to be stopped in 1938.” Aw Jeeze

State and Treasury are pushing for stronger UN sanctions such as travel bans and banking restrictions. Iraq is, of course, making life difficult for the Administration and military options bleak. IAEA head Mohammed AlBaradei recently said military action would be "an act of madness."

So we have Secretary of State Rice with a track record of failures on one side and Cheney with a track record of loonyness on the other and Iran with a track record of trouble making in the middle of it - sounds promising to me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Libby and Prison

If you're the kind of political junkie who read a political blog you already know that Scooter has been refused permission to stay out of jail while he appeals his conviction. He is, of course, appealing this decision. He wouldn't go directly to jail, it is up to the US Bureau of Prisons to select a facility and set a date, possibly 6-8 weeks.

Now an interesting debate has emerged over at HuffPo on whether to Pardon, which I now cannot find. So I'll give you the essence, a poster connected high up in Obama's campaign (sorry I can't remember his name clearly enough to post it) proposed that a Pardon would be a good thing, placing the President in the position of having to take part in the mess and defend his Administration. Jane Hamsher posted that the law was broken and the Scoot needs to go to jail.

I am not in favor of Libby being pardoned, he deliberately lied under penalty of perjury, stupid and political. He may well have blocked a federal investigation of a serious matter, he certainly obstructed it. Now on the matter of "making" George II take some form of responsibility, this may be one of the most politically obtuse arguments I've seen from the left. If I'm wrong in fact you're free to call me names, here's how it plays out. Pardon? 'I'm The Decider, get over it. That's all I have to say, I have the power to do this.' Now, go ahead rough tough investigative reporter and ticked off Congress, what are you going to do about it?

It is scarcely going to hurt a 29% approval rating, that's the dead-enders. Let's say he loses 3% , the"'law and order' crowd," and that means what? He's not up for election and the ones trying to get to there are already running away from him as fast as possible, decorum be damned. Polls don't show a big concern on the part of most Americans.

Some folks are postulating that Scooter will roll over faced with actually going to jail. This guy isn't Paris, he's not 'skeered' to death and in need of house arrest to party. I don't know him and have no idea how tough he is, but for pete's sake, he's going to go to a country club prison, not an Alcatraz. How scary is that? It's boring, so he'll write a best seller and work out his corporate future, which will be bright. He has no incentive to roll, his future depends on it. The BushCo operation has nice high paying jobs for those it favors and nobody has anything for a tipped over Scooter. He is not a stupid individual and he knows the operation he worked for.

What we're really looking at is the issue of pardon or not means very little, politically. It may resonate with those who object to a system of justice that works completely differently for the wealthy and powerful compared to the rest of us; those folks already are 'in the camp' and it is scarcely news. BushCo will suffer no damage one way or the other, the Republican candidates will suffer no damage and the American public are already so screwed they won't notice.

Sure, some of will write something nasty about a pardon, and...

Summers of Love

For those of you who missed it and those who've forgotten, please read Glenn W Smith's post on this and then the comments. He's reached back into his memory and brought forward something compelling. It's way too good for me to summarize.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

509,000 Terrorists In The US

The FBI's budget request refers to the entire Terror Watch List as containing 509,000 names. Only 509,000; I'm rather disappointed. Since the list has already been shown to contain the names of Quakers, war protesters, and just plain folks as well as some maybe bad guys and some known bad ones it seems it should be considerably larger. Apparently those who dislike BushCo's war and George II's assault on the Constitution are not doing their part. Since I flew on an airplane last month I evidently have fallen down on the job.

This is entirely unacceptable behavior on our part, I fully expect Americans to step up to the plate and get this list up to at least 3 million by fall. What is particularly troubling is the assertion that the list has duplicate names like Ossame and Ussama and even ones like Saddam Hussein, that would lower the individuals to 345,00o according to The National Counterterrorism Center.

ABC, of all people, says there may be privacy and usefulness issues with the size of the list. Law makers and their wives have been detained, which is only as it should be. I'd be hard put to find a more terrorist group than last year's Republican dominated Congress and their President - who apparently gets around that list by flying in his own 747.

I own guns, I don't like BushCo policies, and I try rather hard to get political change - what more do I have to do? This is patently unfair, Cat Stevens is blocked and my singing is truly a thing of horror. Oh well, I'll just have to muddle along unlisted.

911 From A Hospital

I don't care how over loaded hospitals are, I know about poverty, illegal aliens, broken health care, minor illnesses in ER, I know all of that, when a woman is on the floor writhing in agony vomiting blood she shouldn't have to worry that no one will care for her. I don't care if she's a purple martian, there is such a thing as humanity.

The idea that someone would find it necessary to call 911 to get medical help from a hospital leaves me stunned. It is quite simply beyond comprehension. And, she died there, on the floor, 45 minutes, of a perforated bowel.

Cool, Bagged Another B-day

It's late and I just disproved most of my younger acquaintances predictions and lasted to 54. Anyhow, I'd like to thank the readers for the present they make to me of showing up here. My Oregonian neighbors, the ones from around the rest of the nation, and you international folks - you're the one's I can't quite figure - how'd you get here ? No kidding, you come from pretty unlikely places so if you'd like to hit the comments and give a hint, I'm sure more than just me are interested...

A great way to get to 54, I got complimented on a bigger bog, the satellite TV is cranking out some kick-ass blues, I just reviewed the site meter and was flattered, the new DSL wireless is working fine, and the new - first - laptop is cool. Gus - Great White Pyrenees - is laying here being big and snoring, a great wife sleeping in my bed (I said nothing about snoring, honey), you've got no idea how cool it is today.

Now 8 hrs ago everything I touched broke, I was straightening up some idiosyncrasies on the 74 K5 Blazer, well 4 hours of work did take care of 2 electrical shorts, but then I started to fix the jammed rear window/tailgate - ooooh. I have parts to make - now. Most of it wasn't broken, quite, now most of it is, and I have a light touch. By the end of my efforts I'd come to understand that just looking at it was going to break it, whatever it was. Oh boy do I know how to have fun... It's a very cool little truck...yeah, I just ordered a motor for it; this one is seriously 2 cycle so there's some more fun, you have no idea how heavy and awkward that iron 4 speed and transfer case are - especially under a truck. whine... Here's the truly stupid part, I'll enjoy it.

Thanks for coming by,

Dead Enders, 'Nam and Iraq

Awhile back I wrote a post criticizing the Democratic fear of the "dead enders" regarding getting blamed for losing in Iraq. Over at Middle Earth Journal Ron Beasley has post that goes a bit farther in analysis of the "dead enders" and it furthers my argument that such fear is not only misplaced, but pointless. Loss of a conflict - whether is a war, game, or an election - is traumatic and for certain elements in a group unacceptable. The reasons do not matter, the loss matters and someone will get scapegoated for it. That someone is seldom the responsible party, they've already spun their junk until the unwary take it as gospel.

Consider the lies around Iraq already told, Mitt gets away clean re-telling one, Cheney has never stopped, George II never said everything he's ever said, tape shows it, the gullible ignore. Those folks are a dead end for any Party that panders to them, they'll kill that Party in the long run. But politicians keep making them count and helping them count by lying for them. It's a stupid vicious circle, round and round she goes and where she stops nobody knows...

Mitt Romney, Unrepentent Liar

Mitt doesn't mind lying and nobody but Paul Begala and a few bloggers do mind. He caught Mitt out at the time and nobody is covering it. All Mitt has come up with to cover this absolute untruth was, um, context... What? Context Mitt, you said what you said, nobody has taken you out of context, the question has been quoted and your answer fully quoted.

How's this for context? CNN Transcripts :

Q: There was broad agreement that the war has been mismanaged. But, given what we know now, should the U.S. have started the war in the first place?

Mitt: : Well, the question is kind of a non sequitur, if you will. And what I mean by that -- or a null set -- and that is that, if you're saying, let's turn back the clock, and Saddam Hussein had opened up his country to IAEA inspectors, and they had come in, and they had found that there were no weapons of mass destruction, had Saddam Hussein therefore not violated United Nations resolutions, we wouldn't be in the conflict we're in.

But he didn't do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in.

BEGALA: A huge mistake, a gaffe that -- that's, if this were a general election debate, would be a disqualifier.

Mixed pooh pooh, lala. Nothing.

That is a LIE and further Iraq provided thousands of pages of documents, what they didn't hand over was WMD, that's tough when you don't have them. Mitt says I want to be President and I can lie and I can change philosophical policy stands as soon as I'm running for another constituency and I'm so godly and pretty and pointlessly incompetent that you should vote for ME because my religion is so immaterial that I bring it up every time I open my mouth on the trail.

There is plenty I can take without foaming at the mouth but this guy isn't one of them. McCain is wrong about the war, but he's not lying. Every time Mitt's name is brought up make a point of bringing up the UN Inspectors.

Tom Butler Tells Baker City Part Of The Story

Baker City Herald; June 12, 2007; Issue23
"Tax proposals shouldn't fly, Butler thinks
Mike Ferguson, mferguson@bakercityherald.com

Mike and I know each other pretty well and I have reason to trust his reportage, so here's Rep Butler as I derived him from Mike's report. Don't blame Mike for my stuff, I'll use quotes if anybody is getting quoted.

First up, I don't think Tom has ever seen a tax break for big business or wealthy individuals he doesn't like. Butler opposes raising the $10 corporate minimum tax, a level he admits is low, but he does want you to know that corporate filing fees have been raised 500% since the $10 minimum which began in the 1930s. Yes, 500% no doubt sounds like quite the bash on corporations - except the fee is $50. How do I know that? I pay both. Of the price to satisfy government to allow me to be in business this amounts to almost exactly 1%. Me, 1%; oh boy am I impressed.

He doesn't like the boost in weight and mile tax on trucks that operate in Oregon "The increase would make Oregon the nation's most expensive state to operate a commercial tractor-trailer, he said." Has Tom looked at the roads lately? Sure, studs are hard on the roads, but check which lane is thrashed, the right one. The truck one. Chains aren't exactly nice to roads, either. The most expensive in the nation? Let me see, deep frost penetrations, lots of mountains, lots of miles with essentially nothing there thus lots of mileage. Oh my, I pay about $240 for tags for a 1950 COE (cab over engine) 18,000 pound gross dump truck that gets the kind of miles you might expect in a year - few.

He doesn't like the additional cigarette tax, he says it would push people to Other Tobacco Products site and OTP isn't taxed. He's a non-smoker - "no friend of the tobacco industry," which I might believe. What is galling is that he uses such an argument rather than the fact that the tax will fall on a lower income group with few numbers. He is perfectly willing to make the few numbers argument for the rich, I've heard him do it. And the simple fact that these are Oregonian's children, no smokers. About 60,000 of Oregon's uninsured children are eligible for Oregon Health Plan coverage, but, "their parents just aren't signing them up." He says. ( I think the tax stinks, I smoke, but for the reasons I put forward it stinks )

I'm afraid this guy represents me, oh well...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Struggle

A recent post by Pete note's Camus' idea that Sisyphus could at least salvage his dignity by cursing the gods. The author John Gardner (Grendel, Sunlight Dialogues...) had as a recurring theme the idea that the definition of a life was the struggle rather than the successes. This idea seems entirely lost on much of America.The controlling definition today seems to "winning," ie: dollars, elections, media exposure. What you do in life seems subsumed by the outcomes measured in...essentially terms of greed.

It seems that winning an election means you can say anything you like with the ends of winning a particular base and the election. It seems that the measure of a business is stockholder return, criminal hiring practices, shady accounting, outright political corruption do not matter, a $1.00 return versus a $0.75 is what matters, not how it is achieved. A Paris Hilton matters because media exposure matters.

Does Pete Abel have to reform the Republican Party to be a success? If the Republican Party is to succeed, probably, but is that a measure of Pete Abel? Not in the view of Gardner's philosophy, Pete succeeds because he pushed the rock and then pushed again and... Now that is personal, and individual - but - and here's the real thing in the argument, that behavior multiplied has effects: More multipliers more effects.

Now really, consider the outcome of changing the controlling philosophy, taking philosophical responsibility for our actions, their morality, their ethics, their humanity changes the entire picture. People who step back, overwhelmed by numbers and greed no longer do so; these people understand that their life belongs to them and what they do with it counts and they act accordingly. I do not speak of a reward in "heaven," that is an outcome, I'm referring to life, not life after death. A life well lived is its own reward, and the thing is that the rest of us benefit from that.

Is it fair to measure people on that basis? A better question is if measuring them on any other scale is meaningful or fair. Would Mitt Romney as President undo the things he's said? Does the Republican Party staying in its current mess for the next ten years measure the Pete Abels? If we use that measuring stick we are approving the concept that the ends justify the means. The Bush policies regarding searches, torture, Habeas Corpus are of that philosophy. If you could not approve of these things being done to yourself...

Does this sort of philosophy mean that unless you are "Christ-like" you are a failure? Hardly, it is possible to retrieve an untruth by acknowledging it and correcting and apologizing for it. My own life is scarcely spotless, 19 years ago I became clean and sober; that had a whole lot to do with a life that was being very badly conducted, I have corrected that and apologized where I could. I have conducted myself as honorably as I know how, since, and apologize for my mistakes - I own my life and I do not deny it to achieve ends. Yes I measure people on that basis, including myself, and that I won't apologize for.

cross posted from Central Sanity

Comprehensive Stupidity in Congress

Bob Geiger has some details on just how stupid and politically driven the Immigration debate has been. Suppose I pique your curiosity by mentioning Inhofe as one of the major players. Go read his analysis, it is embarrassing.

4th US Circuit Says No to BushCo

Remember a time when a Republican complaint about criminals was that they just get to appeal and appeal and appeal? They certainly seem to think Scooter ought to appeal unless the President pardons first. Now it would be remiss to forget that BushCo went to the Supreme Court to get their military trials program thrown out - and replaced by the Republican abortion Military Commissions Act. A few days before the Supreme Court deadline for handing in their briefs George II tacked Jose Padilla's case onto an existing one. Apparently they do like to appeal.

Not to be left holding a bag of kaakaa the Administration now wants the entire panel of the US 4th Circuit to hear their appeal of the dismissal of their detention of Ali al-Marri, a legal US resident, held in solitary confinement at the Charleston SC Navy brig since June 2003. That would be four years in solitary without charges or hearings.

As AP reports, the 4th's decision was split 2-1 with the dissent of Bush appointee Judge Henry Hudson:

"Although al-Marri was not personally engaged in armed conflict with U.S. forces, he is the type of stealth warrior used by al-Qaeda to perpetrate terrorist acts against the United States," since BushCo said so and everybody knows they always know what they're doing and certainly wouldn't lie...

The majority opinion:

'Such detention "would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution _ and the country," Judge Diana G. Motz wrote in the majority opinion, which was joined by Judge Roger Gregory.'

"Put simply, the Constitution does not allow the President to order the military to seize civilians residing within the United States and then detain them indefinitely without criminal process, and this is so even if he calls them 'enemy combatants.'"

So what are we to make of this string of defeats? Maybe it's not a problem when bad guys appeal...

Cheap Labor On Wall Street

Financial Times reports:

"Blackstone co-founders Pete Peterson and Steve Schwarzman will together reap as much as $2.6bn from the US buy-out group’s initial public offering, the firm revealed on Monday in an unprecedented disclosure of its compensation details."

It's amazing the kind of chump change people will work for:

"In Monday’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Blackstone said Mr Schwarzman earned $398.3m in salary and gains from investments last year, while Mr Peterson earned $212.9m and Tony James, the chosen successor to Mr Schwarzman, earned $97.3m."

I'd have to quit eating to buy gasoline...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Murdoch's WSJ

NYT spoof, in house joke that's out, right click for full size

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Democrats and the NRA

Hold on to your hats, folks - the NRA and the Democrats are in agreement on a Bill. Democrats/NRA/Agreement The agreement is in regard to the NICS or National Instant Check System and the goal is to get their records in order, a goal driven by the Virginia Tech killings.

The agreement calls for states to keep their records current with monetary rewards and penalties for failure. The NRA demanded in return that people with minor infractions be allowed to petition states to have their names removed, that 80,000 vets be allowed to have their VA mental health records reviewed. The Federal govt would be permanently barred from charging buyers or sellers for their checks. Duplicate names and expunged convictions must be purged. John Dingle (D) MI led the talks with the NRA, The WaPo reports saying, "The NRA worked diligently with the concerns of gun owners and law enforcement in mind to make a . . . system that's better for gun owners and better for law enforcement."

Rep Carolyn McCarthy (D) NY had been pushing a similar legislation, but her hostile relation with the lobby nixed any chance of a deal. Oddly considering the Democratic relationship the Republicans had been unable to reach such a deal previously. The NRA's chief lobbyist, Chris Cox, said the the organization has been on record for decades for keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally adjudicated. He warned that if the bill becomes a gun control wish the NRA will oppose it. Both sides were motivated by the fact that the bill is good politics and a good policy.

The last Federal gun control bill of major importance was the 1994 assault weapons ban and the NRA opposed it ferociously. That Bill played a major role in Democratic loss of Congress that year and in the 2000 election loss of Al Gore. The WaPo article has a fairly detailed report of the mechanisms of the bill, the contrast in sense and thoughtfulness between the bills is stark. The message that the NRA is willing to support legislation that isn't harmful to law abiding gun owners and helps keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not have them.

There are ways to run a legislative body that will work to the benefit of the country, this might be a start. Let's see if they can keep from screwing it up, that means watching and it means telling them.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Umm Hillary, This Means Something

I've called Hillary a corporate whore, and it wasn't joke, and I wasn't laughing. Now The Nation makes it a little clearer. The chief strategist for the Clinton campaign is Mark Penn and that has some folks like AFL-CIO's John Sweeny and SEIU's Andy Stern pretty darn unhappy. What could a NY (D) Senator do to upset the biggest labor unions? 'Penn's PR firm, Burson-Marsteller, was helping corporations block union organizing drives, including one their unions were involved in at Cintas, a highly profitable uniform and laundry supply company.'(Nation)

Penn says he will "he will cede all oversight responsibilities for his company's labor relations clients to other managers." (Atlantic) So...

'A few weeks back Penn told The Nation that he had "never personally participated in any anti-union activity." He said today, via email, that he is "sending a clear message that I have no role in this and as a matter of conscience will not."
Penn's statements raise the question: how does one recuse themselves from work they claim not to be doing?' (Nation)

The chief strategist for the woman who told us last week we're safer since 9/11 is a part of a union busting firm. If you can't figure out what that means, let me lay it out a little, this means that if we were unsafe then BushCo's policies - going to war in Iraq, stomping on our civil liberties, and Gitmo etc - make us safer and she promised to increase our safety. Just how draconian will that be? So by extension since union busting is just fine for her people and BushCo's labor policies are the re-institution of serfdom we'd best all learn how to say Massa in the most ingratiating tones in a Clinton administration.

People keep saying politicians are liars, some of them - Cheney, Bush, Romney - are, but a lot of them actually tell you in various ways but you just don't pay attention. You're not supposed to pay attention. Hillary says if we knew then what we know now she wouldn't have voted for Use of Force. Funny, some didn't vote for it. Funnier yet, she never raised a stink until we knew what we know right now ... in the campaign - it's damn unpopular with the voters. That wasn't quite so clear over the past couple years leading up to the 06 election and she wasn't quite so vocal - either. Like real quiet.

Folks this is Bush with brains, good grief, how's that play on your horror show scale?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Cheap Labor In Peril

When Jerry Brown, CA AG, gets up on CNN and says that agriculture is in trouble because cheap labor won't be available without the Immigration Act, because these people will work for wages an American can't live on. Yes, that was a part of his argument. You have to understand that work is not to be rewarded in a plutocratic society, only the elite gets to prosper. Lower blue collar wages have been trashed by THIS problem. It is surely not the only thing happening to wages but this one you can trace right straight back to Ronnie's amnesty.

Here's how that played out, so you have some background on what the upshot of this mess (the bill) is. Ronnie decided that there were too many illegals to deal with so he amnestied them. They promptly and understandably moved up out of those nasty paying jobs they were filling. Those holes were promptly filled by new illegals. The continued non-enforcement of law encouraged employers farther up the wage scale to engage in exactly the same behavior as their agricultural cousins. If a farmer can't compete with legal wages in the face of their cheating bretheren he follows suit and the trend moves up with the violations. The result is something other than economic justice. For ANY workers, whatever color, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin.

If a real employment verification system and serious conswquences were set up this would not be the outcome. The immigration law violators on both sides of the equation have no imperative to comply, the status quo simply continues. A fence is not going to keep determined people out and they are determined because there is a great big fat magnet called NO ENFORCEMENT. You will notice that it is not a feature of the Act, that would slap the plutocrats.

How it is supposed to be fair and of benefit to illegal immigrants to continue the depression of wage and the continuation of the creation of a disenfranchised serf class is beyond me. That is exactly what this mess does. They get paid crap, a wage an American won't take, which part of that is good? Legal hiring and living wages happen when the work is worth being paid for, if there are no willing pickers at substandard wages all those wages go up and if there are very serious consequences for violation on either side it ceases. How is it racist to insist a living wage be paid?

You can't deal with 12-20million people, you certainly can. When illegal employment is cut off and when fraudulent use of social services is cut off the magnet disappears and the pressure to legalize your behavior is huge. That does create a situation where a carrot needs to be offered, but carrots aren't supposed to be cakes. Leave and we'll work out a good deal to come back in, but not at the expense of the American worker and that means actual limits which is not proposed Don't leave and fix yourself - you get hurt. Don't fix your hiring - you get hurt. Surely.

George W Bush likes this mess, if that isn't an automatic disqualification for "progressives" then what is? He has at no point in his Presidency ever backed the American worker, to the contrary, he has consistently cut their throats. This is not different. It makes me furious to watch good hearted people increase the misery of their fellow citizens in pursuit of a "feel good" solution. It has to be understood that there are losers in this equation, no matter how you approach it, so you are forced into choosing who they are. Facing reality can be difficult when emotions are so strong, clear thinking is required when you propose to hurt people. You cannot just have it both ways, maybe after RR's amnesty there was a chance to minimize the hurt but it was so easy to look away. Now Congress and BushCo proposed to do exactly that again, how much more pain will that cause? I'm not heartless, do you have a conscience?

Paris Nonsense - Fox Is An Ass

The circus continues and grows in frenzy. Fox is beating the drumbeat for its star, the punishment is outrageous, one DUI and no one goes to jail. Then they manage after about 15 minutes to finally get around to violating probation, but nobody goes.

I don't live in LA, CA or CA period. I do know judges, and I've known them for most of my life. Let's get something straight, Paris went into court for two traffic offenses after being suspended. One offense right after the other right after being busted and getting probation, and she went in front of a judge after essentially demonstrating "what you say doesn't matter to me in the least." Judges don't like that. Judges find that to undermine the judicial system, and I can tell you I do not want to go in front of a judge that way. I would expect to get drop kicked through the goal posts.

The world will probably run off its rails with something like this going on. I cannot think of a single reason to treat Paris Hilton any differently than anyone else, for good or ill. But quite obviously the news will do so, Fox would have and has had conniption fits about such violations happening with poor people, but certainly not a Hilton or a Scooter. I'm not a lock 'em all up sort nut, but I certainly do advocate equal treatment under the law. Obviously expecting Fox to tell the truth is silly, but it doesn't make the behavior any less irritating. You don't suppose they're trying to grease the rails for the Scoot, do you?

Post Analysis

The last day I've been watching the site meter closely trying to see what is going on. Because my site is based in Oregon it is not surprising that Steve Novick was by far and away the leader in interest, by clicks. Most of those were Oregon based, but a few were out of state including US House infosys.

What particularly interested me was Mitt Romney, my post on Romney led with a title indicating he lies. Now in a blue state like OR that sure wouldn't be a bar to coming in, but there were several UT readers coming in from Google searches and those would have led with the title. NV had a few coming in from Google searches. The searches all were either "Mitt Romney" or "Romney" and came from much of the nation and even a couple foreign countries. The in "clicks" from Blue Oregon and Loaded Orygun to the Mitt story are no surprise and neither were the Novick ones. These two blogs send a lot of readers, mostly from the OR Lefty Blog feed.

I was rather surprised to find that the link I'd put in a short blurb on Central Sanity provided so little traffic to the Romney story. There had been a question about his statement, which I made clear. Either there was little amnesia going on over there or and entire lack of interest, on the basis of no evidence I have no idea.

My foreign readership is increasing, most of that is coming into the front page and is deliberate. I have no idea if most are expats or just interested foreign nationals, the one from India is Indian. I'm not sure it's safe for the Iranian to be coming around, I seldom have much to say about the cretins who run that country, but I have little respect for authority for its own sake. The same goes for the Saudi, I am happy to live in a place fairly safe for the lack of "respect."

For what it's worth, Blog Net News has me ranked tied for #3 as most clicked post - twice - and tied for 4th in most clicked Blog. Now it's kind of hard to take that too seriously since the ranks put me ahead of Blogs that are seriously more read and considerably more influential, not that I'm in sight on the Most Influential. I only toss this in here because it amused me. Really, it's for amusement's sake only.

By the time you read this, Chuck for... should have passed 12,200 visits, I appreciate all those who've stopped by. I do this because I won't take abuse lying down and I won't ignore the good things that are done. If I've provided some amusement, information, or food for thought for others then I've had my efforts validated,

Habeas Corpus...In June??

In 6/2007 a bill finally makes its way out of the Senate Judicary to restore Habeas Corpus. In June? Since the end of the 2006 Congress all that had to happen to make YOU disappear was for the President to say you were an enemy combatant, that's it. Think on that a little, nothing required but GeorgeII's assertion and you're gone. Gone into the maw of the federal government unseen until it decides you can be, if ever. No evidence required, no hearings, just gone into the tender mercies of a government that insists it can use "extraordinary" interrogation methods. Sounds like some "B" thiller movie plot.

Now in June the Senate Judiciary Committee has decided 11-8 that you can challenge your detention. Did you catch the vote? 11-8. That means there are 8 members of the Senate Judiciary that figure what's good enough for some S American despotism is good enough for us. This is not some done deal.

If this vote split is reflective of the Senate as a whole, the fraction doesn't pass veto over-ride muster. Somehow Republicans are the party of despotism in this vote. There are two essential themes at work, one is have we scared you enough to live in under tyranny and one that says this is still America. The spin against your liberty is that these people are tough on terror and the other side are wimps. Somehow running around squealing oh no the terrorists are going to get us is considered tough. I could laugh my butt off, whiney little pissants.

If you've paid attention, some real seriously conservative powers are real ticked off by this BushCo power grab. What you have to understand that of the Bill of Rights the only one unaffected by this piece of garbage is the 2nd Amendment. I listened to a "Constitutional" talking head include it and I thought my jaw fell off. One reason this snatch of Habeas Corpus is so dangerous is that it puts anyone in opposition politics in the position of armed resistance to any "law" enforcement officer. And that includes purportedly minor offences, once in anybody's custody the feds trump. How stupid is that?

Consider - the Constitution is first law of the United States, all law in the US flows from the Constitution and if the Constitution is in abeyance what law is not? Has anyone brought up this consequence of Congress' un-Constitutional action? While I am not a lawyer, I'm not sure that once you step outside of the law that you can claim it, whether individually or governmental. Looked at from another perspective, once the government steps outside of the law, it is an outlaw organization forfeiting all claims to legal protection of civil cooperation. HMMM

Don't start up anything based on my musings, you sure aren't going to be able to use me as legal cover, but it is an interesting exercise. If there's a Constitutional Law expert out there that'd like to chime in - have at it.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I Tried To Warn Steve Novick

I really did try. I like his policy statements, read that again, Chuck for... is FOR somebody. Lately I've gotten to do a lot of yelling at certain dunderheads and really what I like to do is say, "WAY to go!" so I wrote Steve and warned him that being associated with the likes of me is risky. He was unconcerned, and flattering about it. Well, if he's got the nerves I better come up with the words.

Some of you may remember that I ran in the 5/15/06 Democratic Primary for 02 CD US House, Greg Walden's seat. I spent a lot of time considering and polishing my policy statements, I wanted them to be relevant and reflective of exactly who I am. That means I spent a lot of time researching and developing and I was pretty proud of what I had. I see the same commitment to the ordinary citizen in Steve's policy statements and the same willingness to go outside the status quo to get there. I'm darned impressed. Go see him at Steve Novick for US Senate to see what he has to say himself. I'll tell you enough to get you interested.

On Health care
Steve knows the system is broken and wants to work toward a single payer system, but without the severe dislocations caused by a sudden change. He's dedicated to it.

Energy Independence and Global Warming
In favor of one and not the other - kidding. Investments and controls and a basic change in direction.

Get out, but before we leave give the Baker Hamilton Study a shot.

Government Waste
It is a real problem but unlike those who just talk about it (GS?) Steve has plans and some actual targets. I'd rather not be on that list.

Working Men and Women
You've got my ear Steve. I'm about tired of hearing about the middle class (I'm way more tired of hearing how we need to help the wealthy) the folks that've taken a beating for longer than GWB has been in the White House need to be represented and they're the little guy.

Social Security, Tax Fairness, Defense Spending, and Net Neutrality are all addressed and every one of the proposals and concerns looks out for the average citizen and the weak. It isn't a case of class warfare, it's about simple justice. Oh...I can't stand it, class warfare has been waged for nearly 7 years by BushCo and it's time somebody shot back and Steve will do it, without blowing up the works.

Gordon Smith could run a pea picking plant, you should see this resume, nope - you go on over there and see about Steve and if you're not impressed there's not much that will. I'm not too easy to impress, in fact I'm a hard nosed son of a gun, well this will certainly do.

Finally I'm going to tell you again just how expensive it is to run a campaign in a state this size, gasoline alone is a killer, much less all the rest of it. Here's something you may not know, early money is worth multiples of later money. That early money raises the interest factor and the recognition factor which multiplies the later money raising opportunities. That doesn't begin to count the value that the grassroots money has in demonstrating voter interest, that is huge. So, I'll do some of the dirty work, there's an Actblue button in the side bar that will go right to Steve Novick for US Senate and it is a worthwhile investment in our future, and Gordon Smith's as well, there's a pea factory that needs him way more than we do.

Feeds Again

"Putin and ..." knocked me off feed once again. I'm not famous enough for this crap, if I don't go onto feeds I lose over half my readership. I'm not happy. This time I've asked Blogger for help, oh sure.

Mitt Romney's Faith Includes Lying?

During CNN's Republican debate in NH Mitt said he believed in God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. That is what he believes, he said. I've read the book, many times, cover to cover and I cannot remember anything in it that says lying is a thing to engage in. Maybe he was reading something else.

Did I just say he lied? Yes, and he did. He stated the bald faced lie that Saddam Hussein would not let inspectors into Iraq and that is why we had to go to war and he was all for that. On September 17, 2002 Saddam acquiesced to Kofi Annan and allowed inspectors with NO conditions. On March 17, 2003 George W Bush yanked the inspectors and on the 20th launched his war. Iraq also provided thousands of pages of documents showing they had no WMDs. The inspector's preliminary reports were no WMDs and also that cooperation from Iraq left something to be desired. Those are facts. Not ideology, facts, verifiable in print and on video tape.

A few bloggers have called bullshit, Begala, but not the media. The lie has been told ever since the WMDs weren't there. Amnesia? It would put the UN Inspectors into a class of experts and usefulness that falls outside the image of the UN as some sort of international boondoggle and 3rd world cash cow. Republicans tell the lie over and over. BushCo states over and over that it was an intelligence failure. Yes, it was an intelligence failure, on the part of BushCo and the media and a whole bunch of Congressional members, to lap up agenda driven drivel in the place of experts with their feet on the ground.

If you can't remember this, I'm not going to do your work for you, but I will give you a head's up: CNN Letter and this:

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- In a letter handed over to the United Nations on Monday, Iraq said it would allow the return of U.N. weapons inspectors "without conditions" to "remove any doubts Iraq still possesses weapons of mass destruction."

Lying liars and the lies they tell. This guy claims to be Presidential, nope sorry, he's an ass. These are the people who tell you Iraq is where we need to be, for the foreseeable future, oh yeah, listen up, they know - gag, choke.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Remembering D Day, Not Uncle B

My uncle was with the Army Engineers in the Invasion, I know this much and I have one remembrance from him. It is well post landing and he is riding in a deuce and a half and it is cold. A guy decides some gasoline in a helmet would be a way to get warm, the results in a moving truck were predictable, my badly burned uncle came home. That's it. Other than the one other thing, he never touched a gun again and disliked them intensely.

That's it, but it isn't. He came home, went to college and became a highly placed engineer for GM and made a pretty good living. He also supported a lot of charities and was a pretty left sort of guy. He cared very much that there was suffering and injustice in the world and tried to help out. There were never any stories, only the marks on his soul to measure his service. He's gone now, two years ago, one of the nicest and most decent men I've ever known.

Uncle was typical of the vets I've known, no stories, no glory. The distance of film and victory and time takes away the horrors, those being there those days had no distance and the horror was very personal, mostly kept private. A few will talk to skillful interviewers, but mostly family and friends outside their fraternity are left outside. They will share with those who can actually understand the madness and that's alright. The rest of us can only admire their ability to do the things that had to be done and try to be worthy of their doing. It's a lot to live up to, to deserve the deaths and the scars of those people, a whole lot.

Bush and Putin and Hypocrisy

Some time back George II looked into Putin's eyes and saw his soul, and it was a soul brother, lately he's not so sure. I actually think he should be sure, they are brothers, one is just a bit more honest.What has GeoII upset for public consumption is, per NYT, “In Russia, reforms that were once promised to empower citizens have been derailed, with troubling implications for democratic development.” Now on its face there is much that is true in that statement. The problem with it is who is making it.

Here's some more, “The most powerful weapon in the struggle against extremism is not bullets or bombs — it is the universal appeal of freedom,” Mr. Bush said.

Just so we all understand freedom:“Freedom is the design of our maker, and the longing of every soul,” Mr. Bush continued. “Freedom is the best way to unleash the creativity and economic potential of a nation. Freedom is the only ordering of a society that leads to justice. And human freedom is the only way to achieve human rights.”

Now who could argue with that? Turns out the very guy who is making the speech. He gets in Russia's face about reforms, neglecting the fact that 231 years ago there were some "reforms" made right here and they were made with great sacrifice in the face of the world's most powerful empire - not a handful of nutcase religious zealots - he is the guy undoing them. Habeas Corpus is not a reform, it was carried forward as one of the best parts of the old order, but a few others were new, enshrined in the Bill of Rights and the body of the Constitution where serious limits were set on government and the structures of government. It takes a whale of a lot of nerve to use national security to stomp on those limits and turn around and blast Russia with its limited experience for doing the same.

I'm sick of his hypocrisy and I'm sick of the media allowing it without note. I'm sick of the intellectual dishonesty of the NYT and ilk screeching about freedom of the press and dismissing the 2nd as archaic.

Now I'm going to be real blunt, I don't know who is the worst President in history but I do know who is the worst regarding the Rights of Americans. I do know whose administration cannot function without absolute hypocrisy, whether it be in misuse of language or outright lies and I'm flat out sick of it.

The folks that fought that Revolution would put a noose around this guy's neck, they understood the mechanisms of power and they understood the mechanisms of tyranny and they bled to oppose them and they worked very hard to prevent their re-occurrence in the USA. Maybe in the face of the Bushes and Putins of the world some of my lefty friends will begin to understand the "reset button" called the 2nd Amendment. If you think those guys are universally opposed by the Democrats remember that Hillary just recently said we're safer post 9/11.

Ponder that one.You should not only be frightened, you should be furious - not to mention - armed and damed dangerous.

Condi, Stick to Piano

She liked playing piano and was supposed to be pretty good at it, that's something - anyhow. At one time she was the Republican's darling, George II's heir or some hotshot R's running mate. Yep, after everybody quit saying nice things about Colin, she was not only going to be the first black president, but a woman to boot. The word combinations "black," "woman," and "President" have all become Democratic. As little use as I have for Hillary, the word competent isn't an antonym to her name and Obamma is evidently honest and engaging and sadly Condi doesn't even look good next to the riff-raff the R's are running. How far we fall...well a bit more.

The Foreign Affairs Council, composed of former Ambassadors and senior diplomats, released a report today that says the State Department has poor morale and too few people to fill places being drained by Afghanistan and Iraq. They seem to think Condi should have done something about it. If you'd like to see the Department spokesman's excuses, AP has them, along with a few more details.

I really long for a time when the Executive Branch isn't rotting off the tree of democracy, when competence is the minimum requirement, and somebody will tell the truth - or even something close to it. I bet Condi's biggest problem is that Regency U doesn't have enough little godlings that'll go do the dirty work overseas. If you think I'm just being snarky, consider - that place has only been a university for a few years, ranks right up there with Podunk U, and has 150 grads employed in the Executive Branch. yep, god hates us...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bernanke Expects Rebound

This AP story has Bernanke stating that the problems causing poor performance this year - including a bloated trade deficit, cutbacks by businesses in inventory investment and weak federal defense spending _ "seem likely to be at least partially reversed in the near term." However the real estate bust "appears likely to remain a drag on economic growth for somewhat longer than previously expected."

Let's stop to think about this for a minute, whose economy is supposed to improve? If you miss being in the top 10% of the economy you might want to consider yourself left out of that equation. The reason is that it's plain hooey. The economy is measured in various ways, one way is average income - Bush is up on that scale, but it's nonsense, what counts is the median (if you like these kinds of measurements) and that is lower than when Bush took office. If you're reading this blog, chances are real good the median has bearing on you.

You say you like the Dow averages? Well, under Clinton it tripled, under BushCo it is at 16%, adjusted for inflation that's less than zero. Surely all those rich people took their tax breaks and put them to work...well they certainly did, but it went to work swapping paper around. Paper? Yes, debt transfers, company acquisitions, moving through companies that are no more than shells for foreign manufacturing, PAPER. The housing market boom was paper, simply debt transfer, there is money all over the place, the problem is it reflects exactly nothing.

That refinanced house is still the same house, it is no more than it was before it suddenly generated more cash. The money from that house will go through the same channels the rich breaks went through - essentially nowhere. Housing sales financed new homes? The site jobs pay about $0.50 on the 1984 $1.00 and the finished products inside are largely out-sourced and the materials mostly foreign. If you work for a company take a look at where the money goes, look carefully and you will see that very little of it winds up backed up by anything in this country.

I make every attempt to buy American products and yet my life is flooded with foreign manufactured items. Of the indigenous products their foreign components are impossible to determine and even then the question of whether legal hiring practices have been followed is open to question.

Thanks, Ben. I'm glad to know that everything is going to be just fine. PAH

Queen Of Battle, The Infantry

I used the appellation "queen of battle" in regard to the infantry in an earlier post and until I saw the Google hits looking for it showing up I had no idea it was not general currency. The term is derived from the realities of warfare, wars are won by taking and holding dirt. This is true because quite simply, people live on dirt. Governments and all the pieces of civilization that make for a nation are on dirt.

There are many sexier and more comfortable parts of the military to serve in and no one can doubt their usefulness, but their functions are not quite clear to many. While the infantry is the "lowliest" of positions, it is also the one that is served by all others. The planes that fly, the ships that sail, armor, artillery, satellites, and so on are all there to serve the interests of the infantry. Whatever their momentary missions, the over-riding ones are to make sure the infantryman can take and hold ground. An enemy is defeated when he has no place to be, when all his infrastructure is denied him, when his government is taken , his populous controlled and he is captured and this only happens with "boots on the ground."

It can be argued that the infantry can't do its job without the other methods of service and that is quite true, but it is also true that the others cannot do the job of the infantry, it alone can accomplish that end. The grunts get the dirty end of the stick and get called cannon fodder, ground-pounders, and other derisive names; but no matter, they are still members of The Queen Of Battle and justly proud of it.

Bye-Bye Wall Street Journal ?

Financial Times reports in a June 4th article that the Bancrofts who control 64% of the voting shares of Dow Jones met for 5 hours with Rupert Murdoch of News Corp. (Fox) and the talks were according to him "constructive." He has offered to establish an independent editorial board and give the family a seat on the News Corp board, apparently to assuage their concerns about selling the paper to a trash house. (independent? I have a bridge...) The Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees who represent most Dow Jones employees is searching for an angel to enter the bidding.

The WSJ editorial board over the past 6 years has become almost knee-jerk right wing loon in it's outlook, but that hasn't terribly effected the content. If you are quite satisfied with the type of content Fox News puts out you won't mind the WSJ becoming just another cheap tabloid, that is the Murdoch marque. Maybe they can find somebody as reasonable as Sean Hannity or Billo to take the helm. Let's get something straight, Murdoch wants that paper because it will imbue him with an aura of respectability, where absolutely none is due.

We get to put up with his trash because the Republicans wanted to let him into the country and he owes them big for it. He pays back with Fox, let's give him bigger fish. I can't think of anything much more offensive than this Australian smut peddler having control of our media.

You have to love it, while the Christian Right laps up the Fox News vomit and moans the failure of morality, Fox Network puts out the most inane, stupid, and immoral programming on air, and Rupe wants the WSJ.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Condi Can Say Anything...With A Straight Face

At the Organization of American States Condi told the Venezuelan government, "Freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of conscience are not a thorn in the side of government," Rice told the ministers. "Disagreeing with your government is not unpatriotic and most certainly should not be a crime in any country, especially a democracy."

Now I happen to think that Hugo Chavez is a thug, that he is simply operating in the model of previous despots by handing dribs to the masses while amassing personal power, but in some respects he and George II ought to be best buds. But for Condi to make this representation is astonishing considering her criticism of BushCo critics. These people seem to figure collective amnesia afflicts Americans, well, I don't mind pointing it out.

AP has what the Venezuelan foreign minister Maduro had to say about Guantanamo and the US-Mexican border. I love it, a tiff between lying scumbags.

Guantanamo, The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Giving trouble to BushCo has turned into the Guantanamo function in legal circles. The Supreme Court tossed the first BushCo Military Tribunal setup, now the Military Judge, Lt Col. Peter Brownback has tossed the case against Canadian Omar Kadhr because his classification as an offender - enemy combatant - does not match the charge of unlawful combatant required to be prosecuted. The charge was dismissed without prejudice which means it can be brought again, but the rules are going to be a problem.

Adding to the difficulties is that none of the detainees have been classified as unlawful combatants. If that were not quite sufficient to complicate matters there is the little matter that the Military Commissions Act made some actions crimes retroactively, grandfathering them. What this means is that at the time the action was committed it was not a crime, it became a crime after the fact and that is a very large Constitutional problem. The Constitution certainly hasn't figured very largely in quite a few of the BushCo activities, maybe he'll get smacked down again...and again...and again. Makes you wonder why we have jails...

Staying In Iraq - Forever

The US Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan C Crocker, seems to be trying to get Americans ready for an extended stay in Iraq. The Administration has been doing a lot of talking about September, but an ambassador to a country is generally their mouthpiece and here's what he had to say, "...will take a lot longer than September," to stabilize the place and get to political accommodation. Lt. Gen. Sanchez led the Iraq war and told Fox News that, "a stalemate - if you will, not a stalemate, but to stave off defeat," was as much as the US could hope for seemed to prompt Crocker.

NYT juxtaposes Iraq Pres Talibani saying the Iraqi Army wouldn't be ready before fall 2008 with Crocker, “It’s way premature to be talking in terms of victory or defeat.” According to this NYT "With Korea as Model..." news analysis Bush has been privately intrigued with the Korean Model - US troops have been there for 54 years - but now Tony Snow and Robert Gates have both brought Korea up as an example of something done right and somehow connected to Iraq.

Analysts have noted that permanent US bases were being established along the route of oil pipe lines, now BushCo is dribbling out hints of a permanent US troop commitment in Iraq, using Korea, a very sizable one. It is pretty difficult to separate oil and BushCo and Iraq. This bunch keeps trying to use historical referents, they started out with Nazi Germany and Japan, Vietnam was used a model of leaving too early, and now Korea. Their problems have been really pretty simple, not one of the models they use have anything to do with what they've done or are doing and the results of all their models also have nothing to do with Iraq.

History is an illuminating study, facts and actions can be looked at and the outcomes of those congruences analyzed. The very important part of this study is that desires have no place in the analysis, these things are fixed in time and not subject to change by wishful thinking. Condi and Rummy both compared the insurgency to the Nazi Wolfenstein, ignoring the facts of post-war Germany's lack of support for insurgency, lack of will to continue combat, and massive occupying forces, later they moved to the rather instructive example of Vietnam where there was little popular indigenous support as an example of not trying hard enough - 58,000 dead troops might disagree about the level of effort, and now Korea - a divided country which had huge resources thrown into the fight. Every time they reach for history they ignore themselves and military doctrine. Taking and holding ground didn't happen in Vietnam and it is not happening in Iraq, it cannot, there are not enough troops and the populous is not on your side.

Maybe the dead-ender 28% that supports George II's war will wake up and see that his idea is to keep this going on for a few more generations, the 3500 death toll and 25000 mangled will certainly make a much more impressive number given a generation or so to grow. Too bad there's no such thing as ghosts, regular visitations might be as close to justice as BushCo ever faces.

Feeds, How Odd

I recently posted an article about Steve Novick, I then updated it. The update knocked my off my feed. No html or other changes than the update. I've spent hours trying to fix this. The fix turned out to be deleting it and reposting today, it also pushed all my later posts that had been missing forward a day. I have no idea.

Comments? Ideas?

Steve Novick

There have been plenty of folks talking about Steve's run, I won't add to the noise, but I will add an Actblue to the side bar. Running for office is an expensive and time consuming effort, a little help from the roots goes a long ways in making a candidate's life easier and more encouraged. So, take the word of a former candidate for national office, cough up, it's worth it.


Donations are starting in, let me point out that the Grassroots are of huge importance to a candidate, the small donations in enough numbers add up and the fact of them helps keep a candidate going with encouragement. So, please help out.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Thinking About New Hampshire and Democrats

I took notes during the debate for consideration after the fact, rather than impressions.

Regarding the Iraq war you have essentially two schools of thought among the candidates, get out right now and on the other hand start getting out with some troops left somewhere. Gravel, Kucinich, Richardson, and Edwards want out immediately; Hillary, Obama, and Biden tend toward some phased withdrawal with troops either in or near Iraq. Gravel is possibly the most emphatic and angry, Kucinich perhaps more quick and softer spoken, Edwards the most contentious with his fellows about leaving. The talking heads think Hillary does well with Kucinich and Gravel so hard core about getting out, I'm not sure that she doesn't suffer in comparison. You can watch her trying to triangulate and please her camp's perception of the moderates.

Richardson, Kucinich, Edwards, and Obama hit hard on Constitutional issues, who was most credible on it really is a perception issue. Kucinich had the most to say, but his stance on the 2nd leaves such rhetoric a little hollow, Richardson may have been most believable as a staunch Civil Liberties supporter though Edwards and Obama carried themselves very well. Hillary, naturally, was not in the fray. Perhaps the most telling statement she could have made was in response to Edwards' contention that the War on Terror is a bumper sticker political spin, I'm from NY and 9/11. If Americans haven't caught on to the utter nonsense of that particular juxtaposition regarding policy and warfare they deserve another 4 years of BushCo.

If you can find substantive difference between the candidates on illegal immigration it mostly happens on border fence length, try to find out who exactly gives a rat's ass about workers that are here legally, like maybe Americans... oh sure

Nobody was happy with "don't ask/don't tell" as military policy, some took it a bit farther. Edwards moved a bit farther praising civil unions and non-discrimination laws. In fact it was just darn near inspiring to hear all of them hit that particular note.

At least nobody blew smoke about an easy fix for current gas prices, there was some talk about investigating oil companies. There was a bit of miss when only refining and retail was mentioned, seems nobody notices crude trading. Anybody want to mention it?

Hillary was the most hawkish on Iran, but did emphasize diplomacy as the first option. All criticised the BushCo stance of not talking to those we disapprove of. Richardson made the point that Iran is much farther from weaponized material than is the common stance of the Administration.

Nobody seems too sure what to do about Pakistan, Obama hit hard that Iraq makes things much more difficult for Musharef and pushes fundamental Islam forward, he hit that note again on Darfur regarding our credibility with Guantanamo, Habeas Corpus, and other strikes by BushCo on our liberties as discrediting us in all regions.

Biden was the most down right angry of the bunch regarding Darfur, never discount Joe Biden's ability to reach out to people - he may be the most able one at working a crowd. That won't save his campaign but he shines in small settings. He advocates establishing a no fly zone and pushing China, hard. Nobody wants to put US troops on the ground and Dodd opposes tying the Olympics and China to Darfur, Edwards, Biden, and Richardson think it would make good leverage, in the end Biden demanded no more talk, time to take action including sanctions.

Taken as a whole, the debate responses were more left than might have been expected, particularly in light of the first debate. Hillary is fading left, obviously reluctantly as she strives to maintain the center, the question is whether the Primary voters in the independent ranks are the center she's trying for.

New Hampshire Democratic Debate At the Moment

First impressions:

Edwards is taking off gloves, coming from left, hitting Hillary hardest on War. Leadership as honest assertion is his real talking point. Hillary tried the 9/11 line.

Gravel was tough, but Kucinich most coherent in his criticism and proposals. Rchardson has most experience and in some respects most coherent on foreign policy, somewhat light on social.

Hillary is practiced and manages tough without shrillness, still equivocates. Makes a show of progressivism without actually advocating such policies. Obama is making gains in policy but still is a sweetie-pie voice rather than clear and hard cut.

Biden knows how to make the case about legislating rather than presiding, and the limits of each.

Interesting was Obama's response to Edwards attack on Funding vote and silence leading up to it, Obama to Edwards, "you're 4 1/2 years late." Hillary is still doing, I didn't know what BushCo was up to, pure silliness in my opinion, Gravel wasn't buying either.

Health Care is one of Edwards' leading policy pieces, it is flawed but seemingly less so than Obama's, Kucinich is clear on single payer not for profit - socialized medicine. Gravel is pretty blunt that there is no money for squat, some risky truth telling on his part.

If Kucinich were a little more mainline in some of his ideas, like peace as the center of government policy, nice but not electable, he'd have the edge as progressive in social policy.

If it were up to my wife, Richardson, Biden, and Kucinich would get grafted into one candidate and there would be something. Hmmmm. I married well, she's onto something, wonder how hard you'd have to squeeze them to make the graft.

Now I'll sit and think on this.

A Truck, A Candidate, More KaaKaa

You have to love it, if you were to run for the Senate in a rural area a pickup truck might burnish your image as down-to-earth kinda guy. It might seem particularly impressive if it had anything to do with reality, but then there are people like Fred Thompson who are...actors, and actors have little to do with reality. So the thing to do would be to buy a 98 Chevy pickup and drive it around as though it had something to do with you. At least as long as it was campaign season, then you might park it in your mother's drive and let it sit...and sit...and sit...until the tags were well expired.

If it had sufficiently little to do with who you are, you'd drive it away from campaign stops, ditch it, and drive off in your luxury sedan. Yep, here's a man of substance, you know substance over image. Ahhhh Hahahahaha suckers.

Friday, June 01, 2007

DSL, Wow.

It is probably old news to those of you with DSL, but I am very new to it, like a few hours new to it, this is pretty darn cool. I worked a pretty good deal with ole Qwest for a bundled account of phone, long distance, DSL on business line and got a wireless DSL. The desk top PC is ether net connected and the new Vista based lap top is wireless.

A lot of readers may not know that writing my articles is the smaller time consumption part of the deal, much more time has been spent researching, primarily on line. Of that research time the 56k modem was eating a great deal of time - something I have in short supply, since I have to work very hard for a living and my wife likes some time as well. The land line has been a no call mess whenever the computer was online and that's a nuisance especially since it just rang in the caller's ear (call waiting).

I've discovered already that both computers can work online at the same time, pretty cool. There are still some details to be worked out regarding my previous ISP, I'm not willing to lose my email address, it is in way too wide circulation for me to let it go - people who need to get in contact fairly infrequently, but importantly. It has enough advantages to be worth the price for me, I'm not sure about everyone, but I have good reasons for it.

I guess the upshot is that this may improve my posting frequency and maybe even improve the quality by increasing research time.