Thursday, November 30, 2006
That being said, eventually someone else will sit in the Commander & Chief's seat, so call it forward thinking.
Picking a side in the new named by NBC civil war is tantamount to federation, only with a thousand times the violence. Iraq should be split into three parts, just not along the lines that have been proposed in the past. Yes, the Kurds in the north would retain their autonomous region, but not secede from the nation.
The same goes with the Shia in the South. Yes, that will give Muqtada al-Sadr a virtual lock on controlling the oil wealth in that region, but that is the best possible outcome at this point. While in the past I've thought that the country would eventually split up anyway, and that the Mahdi Army would eventually go toe to toe with the Badr Brigade, the dynamics have changed this year.
If there is one good thing that has come from the sectarian violence, it is the fact that the Mahdi Army has grown in size by about eight times although it's certainly not true that Sadr has control over all the new members. That is not a good thing in Iraq's current state, but in the future it could be a good thing to brace the country in the future from an even more pro-Iranian SCIRI and their Badr Brigade. For while Sadr cannot rein these forces in from sectarian violence, he can unleash them on the Badr Brigade if necessary.
Simple geography has kept the Badr Brigade from experiencing the same growth as the Mahdi Army. Their core constituency is not out in the killing fields of central Iraq, but in the south near the Iranian border where security is much better.
That only leaves us with the Sunnis. I believe that the best solution at this time would be to have Saudi Arabia annex Al-Anbar province, plus Baghdad to the Tigris river as its protectorate. As for Al-Anbar, the tribes of that region share cross border ties into Saudi Arabia already, and the Shia and Kurds have no use for the land as it is of no particular value. In Baghdad, the Shia and Sunni seem to be making the Tigris their dividing point at this time on their own anyway.
Then, the US forces could withdrawal from Al-Anbar province and allow the Saudi security forces to root out the foreign presence there. They're much better suited for the job anyway. US forces would then aid in helping displaced families with safe passage to the areas they choose to live in, then withdrawal to defend the new border, drawing down forces as the Saudis replace them.
Under this proposal, the Saudis would get to show off their prominence in the Sunni world, one of the main reasons they would go for it, and help bring stability to the region. We get to get the hell out of there. Then again, it could lead to regional war.
Just a random thought.
Since the Webb story is of more interest to me, (But seriously, tell me where I can find the hoo hoo pics) I'll focus on it mainly because of the dishonest account of the event depicted by Geroge Will in today's Washington Post.
The actual encounter went something like this:
"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.
"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.
"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"
"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.
Will conveniently leaves out the fact that Bush was the one who initially ratchets up the level of contempt and that Webb's response really isn't that bad given Bush's dismissal of Webb.
It is a sad day for conservatives when this is the best they can come up with, but who can blame them, it's pretty much all they have. Their war in Iraq gets worse by the day, their hero in chief is mired in the low thirties, and no one outside of Bill O'Reilly and, get this, Chuck Norris gives a damn about the War on Christmas anymore.
I'm not even writing this because Webb needs anyone to come to his defense, even though countless others have indeed done so today. (See every blog) Webb doesn't need it, he's got the job for six more years and few if any will remember or even care once that time has elapsed.
No, today I'd like to talk about the nattering nabobs who make up the elite punditry class that rules our national discourse. What a frail bunch of petunias they are. Rudeness. George Will filled his spot in today's Post with an article about rudeness. Of everything going on in the world, is a spat between two men at a cocktail party the most important thing to write about today.
At least Will isn't as frail as Richard Cohen, who would surely attempt to rebuff Will's blogging detractors of today by writing the inevitable follow-up column that bloggers were mean to me!
Seriously, it seems that nearly every one of these people were home schooled and have only heard all their lives how great they were and have posters of kittens hanging from clotheslines in all their offices.
It's not far from the truth. In fact, a lot of as Atrios calls them "The Wise Old Men Of Washington" have spent the last thirty years in a vacuum where virtually everywhere they went they were told just how great they were. From their time in (group) think tanks to their glory days of being elite pundits, they have simply never had to take criticism. At least not until the electronic age.
I'm sure that they received a few nasty letters, which they probably figured were written by cranks. Hey, I've got this massive readership and only these two guys think I'm nuts or lying or whatever. That is no longer the case.
Now, while it has been true that newspapers have been putting their content online for a few years now, but most of that time was during the infancy of blogging. Now, their respective papers put their content online late the night before to get their stories out there to place their claim on setting the tone for the twenty-four hour news cycle.
That means a jackass like me can have most of the major newspapers read by 4:30 in the morning, and can have articles like Will's shredded even before his alarm clock goes off. This is the new way political warfare will be waged in the near to mid term. Kinda fun really, blowing the petals off the petunias.
The US has banned the export of luxury goods to North Korea, as part of US sanctions for the North's nuclear test.
The sanctions target the lifestyle of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il and the families of his supporters.
The list includes iPods, plasma televisions, cognac, Rolex watches and artwork.
North Korea's leader is well known for his lavish lifestyle and for giving expensive cars, liquor and Japanese appliances to his close associates.
Well, that should bring the regime to its knees. God knows if Kim Jong-Il can't get his drink on, he surely will become docile to the rest of the world. The worst part of this waste of our government's time, and therefore our tax dollars is that it isn't even enforceable. It isn't like Kim was bolstering our 4th quarter GDP by ordering through Amazon.com or something. He gets his stuff through third parties.
No, this just it so damn typical of this administration's lack of foreign policy, or actually domestic policy as well. It's all show and no go, and as mentioned on NPR this morning, it's infantile.
In an unprecedented action, representatives for more than 10,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientists are calling on Congress to take immediate action against global warming, according to a petition released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The petition also calls for an end to censorship of agency scientists and other specialists on topics of climate change and the effects of air pollution.
The petition stresses that time is running out to prevent cataclysmic environmental changes induced by human-caused pollution and urges Congress to undertake prompt actions:
“If we wait, we will be committing the next generation of Americans to approximately double the current global warming concentrations, with the associated adverse impacts on human health and the environment.”
The filing of this petition coincides with today’s oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on a case (Massachusetts v. EPA, Case No. 05-1120) brought by states seeking to force the Bush administration to regulate greenhouse gases that fuel global warming under the Clean Air Act.
The petition signatories represent more than half of the total agency workforce. Addressed to the members of the Senate and House committees overseeing EPA, the petition argues that:
The Bush administration strategy of “using primarily voluntary and incentive-based programs” to reduce greenhouse gases is not working nor “has [this approach] been effectively carried out;”
EPA has abdicated its enforcement responsibilities by “failing to investigate coal-electric plants for technical options to control carbon;” and
“EPA’s scientists and engineers [must be able] to speak frankly and directly with Congress and the public regarding climate change, without fear of reprisal.”
“Professionals working for the Environmental Protection Agency are protesting being ordered to sit on the sidelines while we face the greatest environmental challenge of our generation,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that the petition began among agency staff.
“Under a new Congress, perhaps the scientists at EPA can begin to directly communicate with their true employers – the American public.”
The letter is signed by presidents of 22 locals of five unions: the American Federation of Government Employees, the Engineers and Scientists of California, the National Association of Government Employees, the National Association of Independent Labor, and the National Treasury Employees Union. These unions represent more than 10,000 EPA scientists, engineers and other technical specialists.
The newly elected Democratic Congress would be wise to heed this request.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The environmentalist will surely line up behind Al Gore if he chooses to run. John Edwards has labor firmly in his back pocket. Hillary has Hillary's people. A lot of people will line up behind Barack Obama. Hell, even John Kerry, Tom Vilsack, and Wes Clark have their own followings. But Joe Biden, I just don't see it.
Obviously, Biden is counting on the "serious on national security voters" to carry the day for him. Unfortunately, since the Iraq war is still going to be going on during the 2008 campaign, any remaining Democratic "serious on national security voters" are likely to be "get us the fuck out of there now voters."
Oh well, he'll always have the bankers.
It is a strait forward warning to us not to pick the other side, and even though the Saudis have promised not to intervene while the US is there, if the US sides with the Shia, military aid and money are going to start funneling across the border.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
''Look at what has happened to Miami,'' the WorldNetDaily quotes Tancredo as saying in an interview. ``It has become a Third World country. You just pick it up and take it and move it someplace. You would never know you're in the United States of America. You would certainly say you're in a Third World country.''
''Moreover, the sheer size and number of ethnic enclaves devoid of any English and dominated by foreign cultures is widespread,'' Tancredo said in the statement. ``Frankly, many of these areas could have been located in another country. And until America gets serious about demanding assimilation, this problem will continue to spread.''
Oh my God, do you mean in a free country, there are people who would dare to use their right to free speech in a foreign language. Oh, the humanity, and they're brown to boot.
Seriously, Tancredo would be a lot better off if he used his right to free speech a lot less regularly, and the same could be said for Tancredo's spokesman who had this drivel to say:
Tancredo didn't visit Miami on the Nov. 18-19 trip, but has visited before, a spokesman said. And, if Ros-Lehtinen's invitation includes ''a stay at a five-star beachfront resort, he may be willing to look beyond the inherent dangers that he had cited and visit Miami again,'' his spokesman said.
Inherent dangers? What, like some gay Cuban might dance too close to Tom's wee wee giving him a stimulation he has always wanted, yet never experienced. Then it would be off to the Ted Haggard school for teh de-gaying. No wonder he's scared. What a fuckwit.
Perhaps we should take a look back on the Princess of Foggy Bottom's year and try to figure out why she should deserve consideration.
Well, there was her input into the war between Hizbollah and Israel. No wait, she was simply and roundly dismissed by all parties involved in the conflict. Condi was utterly hapless in all her attempts to get both sides to listen to her, and by proxy, the United States of America.
While we are in the region, how's the Road Map For Peace progressing in the Palestinian conflict? Haven't heard much about that this year, have you?
Skipping to the south side of the Mediterranean, did Condi manage to get anything accomplished in Darfur? Nope, I had to endure the umpteenth Nicholas Kristof article in Sunday's New York Times where a young woman was gang raped while searching for firewood. Completely off-topic, but can we seriously get these people some fucking Kingsford? It's maddening.
Oh wait, I almost forgot our stunning success with North Korea. All they did this year was defy convention after convention in setting off missiles on the Fourth of July and attempting to detonate a nuclear device. Luckily, our own failures were only exceeded by Kim Jong-Il's.
As for Iraq, well, she doesn't even get to play in that room.
It's quite possible that statesmanship in the world hasn't been at this low a point since WWII, so why in the world does Rice deserve consideration for Person of the Year? She is an absolute failure among failures in the White House. Even George Bush managed to get to first base with Angela Merkel, although if Rice would have been in that saddle I expect she would have went a little lower.
Thus, I conclude that I am at least as deserving of the award and demand my own consideration.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Ali – Khadhraa district:Please inform us about the areas that are expected to be targeted, so we can be prepared. Also please inform us on the necessary steps we should take to protect our families and ourselves.
Ibn Al-Iraq – Jihad district:Salam Aleikum. I live in the Jihad district. A group from the Mahdi Army tagged Sunni residences and collected their weapons today. God is witness to what I say.
Mustafa – Ghazaliya:We have been under mortar fire for two days. It is 10:50 p.m. now and we can hear heavy gunfire and an attack against mosques in the area. May God save us all from the injustice of aggressors.
A Mujahid for Allah – Baghdad of Al-Rashid:In the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful. They want it a war, so be it. We are up to it, God willing. My brothers, heed these recommendations:1- Prepare weapons and ammunition.
2- To avoid their mortar fire, do not gather in large numbers at one place in your areas.
3- Spread out in small groups, and assign a commander to each.
4- Always take cover behind a barrier (anything that can protect you from enemy fire).
5- If there is an attack against your area, try not to waste your fire (make maximum benefit from the ammunition you have available).
6- Assign duties to your brothers.
7- Maintain communication with other groups in your area so you can respond to any breach of the area by the attackers.
8- Have courage and patience when you face them. They are cowards and will be defeated. Remember that your brothers, the Mujahideen, will be with you in your fight against the murderous criminals. May God save us and save Iraq.
The son of Anbar – Baghdad:Dear brothers, the Khadhraa and Jami’a districts are in need of ammunition. Please come to our aid.
Ali – Ghazaliya:Groups from the evil Mahdi Army are preparing to enter Ghazaliya from the direction of the Centre Street and near the Muhajireen mosque, but residents are in control of most of the streets, despite assistance from the National Guard [for the Mahdi Army] and their cover for the mortar attacks from the Security Street. A woman was injured there from their damn mortars.
Abu Al-Hassan Al-Samarra’I – Baghdad: To the Mujahideen brothers in all areas, attack them and let the initiative be yours so that you can relieve the pressure from other districts. Have no mercy for them. Be careful of their spies in your areas.
Anonymous - Jihad district: Urgent. Please intervene to save the Jihad district from another massacre. Interior Ministry commandoes have been transporting fighters and mercenaries from the militias with their buses to their headquarters in the district. They are estimated to be around 500 mercenaries, fully armed with medium and light weapons. And now some of them are taking attack positions in preparation for a new massacre in the district. The buses have not stopped arriving, even though terrified residents have called the police and governmental officials.
Abu Mohammed – Baghdad:I recommend to my brothers the following:1- Trust in God, and defend your family, your possessions and your honour. Whoever is killed is a martyr for God.
2- Never surrender, because in that case they will kill us after maiming and torturing us. We should fight to the last breath.
3- Ensure surveillance for every area, especially main streets and entry points, and maintain communication to follow the movement of vehicles used by militias. Attack them wisely without wasting ammunition.
4 – Prepare ambushes for these militias on the streets they are expected to pass. Finish them off and take their weapons. Remember that those militias are former looters, thieves and shoe shiners. Do not make such a big deal of them because, by God, they are lowly animals.
Salim Hussein – Raghiba Khatoun:There is a large gathering of Mahdi Army militiamen at the Imam Ali bin Abi Talib husseiniya at Raghiba Khatoun, where they came from the Dilfiya area of the Qahira district. They intend to attack the residents of Adhamiya, Raghiba Khatoun and Sulaikh. Please be alert.
Ahmed Al-Janabi – Baghdad:Salam Aleikum. I’m a resident of Yarmouk and I can hear gunfire from the Four Streets area as if in warning of an attack of sorts. God knows. Please come to our aid if the situation worsens.
Abdul Rahman Abdul Qadir – Karkh:Salam Aleikum. Over 40 vehicles with Mahdi Army militiamen have gathered near the Dora police station. They started arriving at 7 p.m., and at 7:45 p.m. we could see about 40 vehicles preparing to attack Dora.
Abdul Rahman – Iraq:Please keep these steps in mind:1- Deploy snipers on the rooftops of buildings that lie close to the main entry points for each area.
2- Prepare positions for medium weapons at a distance from the entry point, and make pincers with sniper and PKC fire. When you choose a position, make sure you can retreat to alternate positions from it, in case the enemy overruns the area (do not choose a building that is not adjacent to another, or use ropes to quickly slide down the building).
3- RPG carriers should maintain their positions on side streets and take cover behind barriers. Do not fire just for the sake of it (attack the first and last vehicle).
4- Create heavy fire density to force the enemy to take cover, and then eliminate them by sniper fire.
5- Provide hand grenades and distribute them to the Mujahideen.
6- Fighters with light weapons should always change positions, fire from different angles and not stay at one place.
7- Prepare and plant roadside bombs on the entrance to every area.
8- Bomb the gathering locations for the army of filthy Muqtada.
9- Prepare a special group to deal with any breach, and it should be armed with RPGs, PKC machine guns and KIA vehicles.
10- Plan ambushes and lure the enemy by using bait vehicles that they chase to be dragged into the killing zone.
Iraqiya – Dora:Urgent. Dora has been breached. There was an attack by the ragtag militias against residences, and we can now hear women screaming. They are raiding the Tu’ma district, which is inhabited by the Jubour tribes. There is also an attack against the Arqam mosque.
Ali – Dora:Elements of the Interior Ministry commandos are attacking Dora (the Mechanic, Tu’ma, Sahha and Asia districts). But do not fear, for we are engaging them. Our battle cry is “They came for death, no one brought them.”
Ahmed – Jamila district:Barbaric groups of the Antichrist [Mahdi] Army, and the Iranians that are with them, have killed dozens of Sunni youth at the Jamila district in the exact spot of the car bombing, in a mass execution orgy in front of people. This was broadcast on Sharqiya TV by an anonymous security source. The honourable Shi’ites from east of the [Army] Canal have told us that these groups are moving freely, and that they are preparing for a wide-scale assault on Sunni districts. Be prepared to confront the infidels.
Mohammed – Jami’a district:Mahdi Army followers have been seen gathering at [MP] Sallama Al-Khafaji’s residence in Jami’a in preparation for an attack against the district.
Abdul Rahman – Iraq:For the brothers who have not used weapons before, please take this advice:1- Check your weapon if you have not used it before. You can ask your neighbour to teach you how to attach the magazine and to load and fire. Do not be ashamed that it would be said you don’t know how to use a weapon, as many people have not had a chance to.
2- Choose the appropriate spot on your roof that can provide you with cover and make it hard for the enemy to target you.
3- It is best if every two families gather in one house when the alarm of an attack is raised to keep spirits high.
4- When you shoot, try to make it intermittent so you do not waste your ammunition. Be patient until more fighters arrive and your neighbours start shooting too.
5- You may feel fear upon using a weapon for the first time or that something bad would happen to you, but think of your family and what awaits them if you are hesitant. Keep your honour and your children in front of your eye, and remember that they have burnt children with kerosene.
6- Make sure that you have an extra magazine because in the midst of action you may take away your weapon and forget your extra magazine. It is preferred that you tape two magazines together. Ask your neighbours how to do that. Practice with it several times.
7- Fear of using weapons will disappear with the first shot. Do not hesitate to pull the trigger and concentrate on hitting the enemy.
Omar Al-Rawi – Baghdad:Salam Aleikum. Mosques in the Adhamiya and Khadhraa areas have started chanting “Allahu Akbar” and reciting Quran through their loudspeakers to encourage residents to confront the Safavid militias
Ibn Al-Mansour – Mansour:Residents of Mansour, large groups of armed militiamen have been seen heading from the Washash and Iskan districts to attack Mansour. Prepare to defend yourselves and your neighbours, Sunni and Shia, from the attack of the treacherous Mahdi Army militias.
Al-Anbari – Baghdad:Several mortar shells have hit the Jami’a and Khadhraa districts after the evening prayers. And there is news that militias are now gathering to prepare for the attack against these districts. Additionally, there are groups of the Antichrist [Mahdi] Army in the Safarat district preparing to attack the Qudhat district.
These appear to have been mostly, if not entirely culled from a Sunni message board, but I'm sure a Shia one looks like the other side of the same coin. If you have seen Hotel Rwanda, you might notice some similarities between these posts and the radio announcer in the movie.
Seriously Kathy, if you're going to run, call me. I've got to see that kind of crazy up close.
Every single television shot I've seen of the Iraqi forces, both police and army show a force that is in no way shape or form up to the task of making the populous under control. Their helmets look like they were found in some old army surplus store, if they have one. Their body armor has zero chance of stopping an AK-47 round, if they have any. They have virtually nothing in the way of armored troop carriers. In addition, they have no air power whatsoever. In other words, they are cannon fodder.
These are the guys that potential presidential candidate Duncan Hunter, heh, hold on, I still laugh when I hear that. Anyway, these are the guys Hunter wants to take up the fight in Baghdad.
In today's Washington Post, Walter Pincus writes up that Anthony Cordesman thinks pretty much the same thing that I do. Cordesman is the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. From the Washington Post:
One of Cordesman's central issues is that public statements by the Defense Department "severely distorted the true nature of Iraqi force development in ways that grossly exaggerate Iraqi readiness and capability to assume security tasks and replace U.S. forces." He also writes that "U.S. official reporting is so misleading that there is no way to determine just how serious the problem is and what resources will be required."
Cordesman says the Pentagon's Aug. 31 status report, which was sent to Congress, lists 312,400 men "trained and equipped" among the Iraqi army and national and regular police. But it adds that "no one knows how many . . . are actually still in service." At the same time, he writes, "all unclassified reporting on unit effectiveness has been cancelled."
Criticizing statements about how many Iraqi army units are "in the lead," Cordesman notes that the Iraqi army "lacks armor, heavy firepower, tactical mobility and an Iraqi Air Force capable of providing combat support" -- the same points McCaffrey made yesterday.
Can we now stop pretending that we have done anything to meaningfully equip the Iraqi security forces and admit that we've basically just have been dicking around? Giving guys an AK-47 and marching them around in formations does not an army make. Hell, we're probably not even giving them the good ones, they're probably some Eastern European knock-offs.
I can't begin to estimate the amount of money it would cost to equip them to the level Cordesman thinks is necessary, but I think a good guess would be somewhere in the neighborhood as the amount of money we have already spent on this fiasco, or roughly $350 billion. Maybe that Iraqi oil revenue is going to start paying for that sometime soon. Ha!
Iraq is never going to work out while we're there. It probably will not work out if we leave, but it really is truly our only option.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
In fact, I really don't believe a single nominee for any post will go through the confirmation process for the duration of this administration. I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but that is the way I see it.
I have to carry this letter around with me so that when I get pulled over, almost a certainty since I will be driving with expired tags, I can show the police that I can legally drive the car. Of course, this also means I can't park my car on the street or in public lots since the city writes parking tickets for expired tags.
Did the Russian government do it? The Russian mob?
Monday, November 20, 2006
The political party formed by U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman after he lost the Democratic primary in August has a new chairman - and it's not Lieberman.Amusing if nothing else.
However, according to the bylaws adopted by its new chairman, Lieberman critic and Fairfield University professor John Orman, the senator is an eligible party candidate.
According to bylaws established by Orman, anyone whose last name is Lieberman may seek the party's nomination - or any critic of the senator.
Orman seized control of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party this week after registering as its sole member and electing himself as chairman.
With Connecticut for Lieberman having achieved its victory earlier this month, Orman made his move. He contacted the secretary of the state, learned the new minor party had no registered members, then visited the registrar in Trumbull, where he lives, to switch from a Democrat to a Connecticut for Lieberman-ite.
"Then I went home and called a meeting of all registered Connecticut for Lieberman members to reflect on our party's victory in the U.S. Senate race (and) organize and submit rules to the secretary of the state," Orman said.
He nominated himself chairman, seconded the nomination, cast his vote for himself and proceeded to establish party rules.
Found via AmericaBlog.
But in less than a week, her star has been badly tarnished by an odd series of actions, and she's been lampooned on Web sites, talk radio and in gossip columns.
Though the punch lines will quickly fade, political insiders say Sekula-Gibbs has done serious — if not irreparable — damage to her hopes of reclaiming the 22nd Congressional District seat in two years.
"She has mortally damaged herself for '08," said Bill Miller, an Austin media consultant who works for clients in both parties. "She has embarrassed herself. She has embarrassed Republicans. She's done a first-class job of ruining any prospective chance she had of winning that race."
Said Fort Bend County GOP Chairman Gary Gillen: "When it comes time for 2008, the negative publicity won't be beneficial for her."
Sekula-Gibbs denies her political career will suffer lasting damage from what she describes as "personnel issues."
What exactly were those "personnel issues?" Former Delay Chief of Staff David James says, "Never has any member of Congress treated us with as much disrespect and unprofessionalism as we witnessed during those five days."
"Kirk Fordham, who resigned as chief of staff to Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.) amid the damning page scandal, was seen around Capitol Hill last week.
"Fordham was spotted Thursday coming out of the National Republican Congressional Committee, chaired by Reynolds. On Friday, he was seen hanging around the Longworth House Office Building as House Republicans chose their new leaders.
"Aides were surprised by Fordham’s presence.
"'What the hell is he doing here?' asked one, who requested anonymity. 'He’s one of the reasons we’re in the minority.'" (Roll Call)
That must be one naive aide, this guy kept Foley's dalliances under wraps for years. There might be a bidding war for his services.
All three plans ignore one basic fact, and that fact is that we can't "win" while we are there insofar as we can't afford to spend the money the Iraqi Army needs to properly outfit itself while we are spending roughly a hundred billion a year to maintain our presence.
Every single television shot I've seen of the Iraqi forces, both police and army show a force that is in no way shape or form up to the task of making the populous under control. Their helmets look like they were found in some old army surplus store, if they have one. Their body armor has zero chance of stopping an AK-47 round, if they have any. They have virtually nothing in the way of armored troop carriers. In addition, they have no air power whatsoever. In other words, they are cannon fodder.
We could train a million of them and it just will not matter at this point because they are under armed in the conflict. The greatest military in the world has only managed to fight these guys to a draw, the current Iraqi military has no chance, and will continue to have no chance unless we give them the modern military tools to fight the fight.
Unfortunately, we are never going to do that while we maintain our current presence there, as we are afraid those tools will fall into the wrong hands and be used against us, so again we are stuck in a catch-22 even if we could come up with the additional funding to properly arm them.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
She showed up to take over DeLay's old office on Thursday and, according to sources familiar the office dynamics, was "mean" to the staff. On Tuesday, at her new Member's open-house reception in the office, sources charged that she was less than pleased that neither President Bush nor Vice President Cheney showed up with the rest of the welcome wagon, despite the fact that others who stopped by included Texas GOP Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn and Texas GOP Reps. Kevin Brady and Michael Burgess. (Apparently, according to sources, she was under the impression that the president of the United States would be there to greet the seven-week Congresswoman.)The staff she was mean to resigned en masse as a result of her rudeness, and these people had worked for Tom Delay.
That is funny enough in itself, but on Tuesday when Shecky had her open house the president wasn't even in the United States, he was flying to Asia to take part in the APEC conference. Perhaps Seven Week Shecky wanted to meet the president to work on her agenda. From WAPO:
"I'm working hard to accomplish the things I'm working for," she said yesterday. "For tax cuts. For immigration reform. To make sure we have a good solution for the war in Iraq."Yea, as a temporary freshman Rep she is going to deal with the leadership. She'll be lucky to get invited to the Christmas party. Oh, I'm sorry, Holiday party. I almost forgot to start my 2006 campaign in the War On Christmas.
All that? In a few weeks?
"If there's a way to do it, I'll do it," she said, smiling beneath her bright blond hair. "I'll deal with the leadership to get as much done as possible."
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
One of the most idiotic of the groups on the right are the climate confusers who vehemently deny that climate change is occurring at their worst, or just that deny mankind is causing it. These poor souls are now feeling disrespected. From Breitbart:
A spokesman for the U.S. senator who described global warming as a hoax showed up at a gathering of believers Tuesday, claiming scientific dissent on the issue was being suppressed and demonized.
One scholar shot back that the Senate aide must be living on another planet. The exchange took place at the UN conference on climate change, which has drawn more than 5,000 diplomats, activists and scientists to consider new steps in combating global warming.
"The skeptics who get vocal are vilified," said Marc Morano, director of communications for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The committee chairman, Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, has enraged environmentalists by calling global warming alarmist and a hoax.
Morano was invited to be part of a panel discussion on how best to convey the issue of climate change in the media. His fellow panelists, including Jules Boykoff of Pacific University in Oregon, argued that skeptics actually get too much attention in the press.
Efforts by journalists to create "balanced" stories on global warming allow "a handful of skeptics . . . to be treated as equals to thousands of scientists," said Boykoff, an assistant professor in the department of politics and government. Liisa Antilla, a geographer and scholar of global warming, said.
Look, if in this day and age with all the evidence available you do not believe in climate change you deserve to be lumped in with the Flat Earth Society, the Dinosaur deniers, and the Christian Scientists. Accept it.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
That being said, the Church Of England has come out with a new position that I find abhorrent. The new edict? or whatever it is says that financial concerns should be taken into consideration when deciding whether severely ill infants should be helped, or allowed to die. From RawStory:
The Church of England has broken with tradition dogma by calling for doctors to be allowed to let sick newborn babies die.
Christians have long argued that life should preserved at all costs - but a bishop representing the national church has now sparked controversy by arguing that there are occasions when it is compassionate to leave a severely disabled child to die.
And the Bishop of Southwark, Tom Butler, who is the vice chair of the Church of England's Mission and Public Affairs Council, has also argued that the high financial cost of keeping desperately ill babies alive should be a factor in life or death decisions.
If there is one thing which should never be taken into consideration when it comes to life and death issues, it's the cost of the treatment. I find that a church of all entities would take a stand like this, it's crazy.
Almost as crazy as George Bush, who signed a similar measure into law while Governor of Texas which basically says if you can't pay, it's the end of your days.
As for those of you who know me personally, don't call me until this weekend when I'll be coming back up for air. Thanks.
Monday, November 13, 2006
MR. RUSSERT: Less than a year ago, you were saying this, “Overall, I think a year from now,” which would be now, “we will have made a fair amount of progress [in Iraq] if we stay the course.” That’s proven not to be correct.
SEN. McCAIN: That’s proven not to be correct. And I also said three years ago if we don’t have more troops over there, and we don’t do what’s necessary, we are going to be doomed to failure. I gave a speech this—foreign relations—Council on Foreign Relations that said basically that. And I’ve been saying it all along, in every hearing, and I’ve been saying you are going to face this situation we’re facing today if we didn’t have a more robust presence, and a better strategy. And that’s—and I proved to be right in that respect.
So, McCain was right before he was wrong, but he advocated wrong for the last couple of years for cheap electoral gain among republicans and, of course, not to piss off the President's money raising apparatus which he has been courting for his own run at the job.
Now that wrong has been widely rejected by the American public, the ladybug once again positions himself with the wind at his back by going back to advocating right, or at least what he thinks is right, because now he is now in the business of running for higher office. Meanwhile, thousands of American troops were killed or wounded in Iraq and countless thousands of Iraqis suffered the same fate while McCain was busy advocating an Iraq policy position that was best for John McCain and his political aspirations.
I guess that is what passes these days among republicans as "serious" foreign policy debate, and for the record, I don't think McCain's new "old" position of minor escalation will work either. He is only proposing 20,000 more troops.
Friday, November 10, 2006
For the record it's about 197 hours to kick-off. Woo Hoo!! Go Bucks!!
Anyone whose idea that Bush is incompetent on Iraq which wasn't completely cemented before the lie he told, certainly was afterward. This lie probably cost the republicans a few seats in close House races.
It is only really news because the lie was so plain and simple that even the dimmest political reporter could sniff it out. And yes, it is sort of a gotcha moment, but the people who really ought to be angry are the people in the GOP who were the true victims of it. Perhaps now they see the light, this administration not only puts party above people, it also puts itself above party.
It is a me, me, me administration and the republicans in Congress better figure that out before 2008 or some more of them are going to end up on the outside looking in.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
One of the things I would like to know is how did the AP come up with their numbers in the first place. The over-reporting of ballots cast by the AP was systemic in Ohio which is why I assumed they had access to some unreleased absentee ballot information. That may remain to be true, but as of this point they have offered no explanation that I have seen.
We may just get a mini-Florida style recount after all.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
BUSH: You and Hunt and Keil came into the Oval Office and asked me to question one week before the campaign. Basically, are you going to do something about Rumsfeld and the Vice President? The reason why is I did not want to make a major decision in the final days of the campaign. The only way to answer that question, and get it on to another question, was to give you that answer. The truth of the matter is as well, that is one reason I gave the answer. The other reason why is I had not had a chance to visit with Bob Gates yet. I had not had my final conversation with Don Rumsfeld yet at that point. I had been talking with Don Rumsfeld over a period of time about fresh perspectives. He likes to call it fresh eyes.
So he didn't want to let out that information close to an election. I wonder how many close races that cost the republicans. There has to be a few of them muttering under their breath upon hearing this. Please tell me more about the genius of Karl Rove and the October Surprise that wasn't.
Update: Nope, it's going to be Bob Gates. Oh well, he couldn't be anybody worse than Rumsfeld.
If you assume that absentee ballots break the same as provisional ballots 75% of them should be valid and using a model showing them breaking 2-1 for Kilroy it should net her an additional roughly 4,000 votes. Of course that assumes that every ballot cast a vote for this race which isn't realistic.
I can only assume that after the outstanding ballots are counted in this race it should be tighter than a gnat's ass. I look for a mini-Florida style recount with both parties challenging ballots to the end. You better lawyer up Mary Jo.
I started to get uneasy about this race yesterday afternoon after hearing just too many reports of short or no lines at the polls. I had previously been confident that Mary Jo would win, but I sensed a depressed turnout in some of our core districts so I went out into the field to check it out for myself. It was dismal. At the large precinct I vote in, turnout was around twenty percent as of the next to last poll strike. It wasn't much better at others I visited.
A couple of Dem workers assured me that thirty percent of it had voted early. That remains to be seen. I somehow doubt it.
Update: It appears that CNN's numbers contain absentee ballots while the SOS does not. Kilroy is probably toast.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
"This message is for Timothy Daly. This is the Virginia Elections Commission. We've determined you are registered in New York to vote. Therefore, you will not be allowed to cast your vote on Tuesday. If you do show up, you will be charged criminally."
Now if you're willing to go to the effort to cross reference the voting rolls of every state to try to come up with a number of voters likely to vote against you, that is something. It also tells me that the RNC is probably complicit in these endeavors and not simply supporters of the GOP. Anyone up for a federal RICO charge for Ken Mehlman? The DOJ has opened an investigation.
Two other calls into Virginia came reportedly from Montana and California to inform voters that their voting location has been changed, it hasn't. The bottom line is that this appears to be nationally coordinated micro-targeting, which the republicans are known for. The only question at this point is how far the DOJ investigation will go, who will get exposed, and how much of their vaunted 72 hour program is going to get put into the public realm.
So, why such a large spread? A lot of voters in my precinct were furious in 2004 after waiting two hours to vote while the other precinct simply strolled in, voted, and left. That is why I was sure to be there before the polls opened today.
By the way, that is a pretty shallow promise at best.
I've been monitoring EIR's election incident page, and quite a few of the reported problems are coming in from very republican precincts. Now, there are incidents being reported in strong Democratic precincts as well, but these voters are in fact, used to dealing with this shit. They have had practice from previous elections.
What do you think the average moderate voter who has never had to deal with it is going to be thinking when he or she fills out their provisional ballot. I believe they are going to be thinking about a straight ticket Democratic vote. It would simply be the greatest thing in the world if this does indeed backfire on the Ohio republican party.
Anyway, that is good news for the Democrats here because it means independents are coming out to vote and they are breaking for us 2-1.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Outside of Franklin County, check your local county party website. A full list of Ohio county Democratic websites can be found here.
Don't forget to take your ID. ID requirements available here.
The effect is to try to piss off voters to stop them from voting for Democratic candidates, or get them to listen to what eventually is an attack ad against those same Democratic candidates.
What I find interesting though is what districts they are calling. If you use Chuck Todd's competitive House rankings over at the National Journal, the twenty five seats listed here as getting the calls has an average competitiveness of 38.28. (Note: three of these races were not even in the top 60 races so I used 60 for this computation).
If this is where the republicans have decided to make their stand using all of their dirtiest tricks it is not a harbinger of good things to come for their party. It appears to me that they are preparing for at least a 25-30 seat loss in the House, and firewalling against a possible 35-40 seat loss much as they have in the Senate.
I still stand by my prediction of us picking up 31 seats in the House, but I'm starting to look at a few that I didn't have us winning with a little more intrigue.
Hoekstra, as you know, along with Rick Santorum was one of the few members of Congress to push President Bush to release the Iraqi documents on to the Internet which allowed nuclear secrets to be read by anyone who speaks Arabic. He also seems to have a short memory about doing that pushing. From the Boston Globe:
House Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra criticized the Bush administration on Sunday for its handling of a trove of once-secret documents from Saddam Hussein's covert nuclear program disclosed on a federal Web site.
Hoekstra, R-Mich., complained the U.S. intelligence community hadn't properly declassified the documents.
"Well, you know, we have a process in place. It looks like they screwed up," he said on CNN's "Late Edition."
Hoekstra seems to forget that this is the exact program he pushed in the format he pushed, and which the Bush administration enacted. It was to go ahead and put the raw, untranslated documents on the web for all to see so that the "Army of Davids" (Right-Wing Bloggers) could speed the translation process. If these documents were to be properly vetted and declassified before appearing on the web, there was never a reason to put them on the web, because to do said vetting would require translation. At the Time Hoekstra had this to say:
They ought to be put on the Internet...unleash the power of the 'net on these 55,000 boxes of documents to see exactly what went on...Let the blogosphere go!"
Look, ultimately the responsibility for this intelligence failure falls at the feet of George Bush who went ahead with this dumb idea over the intelligence community's wishes including his own director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, but the fact is that Hoekstra and Santorum pushed Bush up to the cliff and now Hoekstra is blaming him for jumping.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Now, the president says he’ll stick with Rumsfeld for the balance of his term in the White House.
This is a mistake. It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation’s current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads.
These officers have been loyal public promoters of a war policy many privately feared would fail. They have kept their counsel private, adhering to more than two centuries of American tradition of subordination of the military to civilian authority.
And although that tradition, and the officers’ deep sense of honor, prevent them from saying this publicly, more and more of them believe it.
Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.
This is not about the midterm elections. Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth:
Donald Rumsfeld must go.
Upon being informed of the possibly unprecedented editorial, President Bush reportedly "shrugged it off." That's great, I guess listening to troops is now out the window. When you vote in this election on Tuesday, you might want to think about which party will provide oversight for this fiasco in Iraq. The President himself with this reaction has now shown that he isn't interested in any.
One of the questions asked in the poll is who did you vote for in the last presidential election? About four percent of the respondents replied that they did not vote in the last presidential election and those election always have the largest turnouts.
It is most likely that these voters were not old enough to vote in 2004, or they were just old enough to vote and didn't. These voters are breaking roughly three to one for the Democrats. It is a widely held view that people choose their ideological outlook on politics around the age of twenty. This could signal that there will be a generation of heavily Democratic supporters much like the FDR generation who happen to as Karl Rove says "are dieing off."
Naturally, we will not retain all of these voters for a lifetime, but given the substantial edge we have on them at this point, I think it is a given that we will have a built-in advantage among them for some time to come
Friday, November 03, 2006
First, the republicans ran race baiting ads in various races around the country, then they realized at this late date in the cycle, they had failed to take a shot at the Jews. Well, fear not readers, this late ad directed against Gary Trauner in Wyoming does just that. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, New Yorker is a dog whistle word for those of the Jewish persuasion which Trauner is.
This is hilarious. When confronted about wrong doing in his office, republican Tim Murphy does the only responsible thing, he snatches the evidence out of the reporter's hands for safe keeping, and he did it on camera! Murphy then goes on to blame his staff for doing things he clearly ordered them to do.
I joked with them asking if they were in town for me, they weren't. They did however have some interesting things to say. One of them had worked on the prosecution of Bob Ney. I told them some of the rumors I've heard about Ney over the past ten year and they replied that most of them were believable given their knowledge.
Then one went on to say that Ney also has what they described as "a Mark Foley type problem." Huh? They went on to say Ney was "totally gay", so at this point I'm not sure they were using the phrase "Mark Foley type problem" as a way to indicate that Bob Ney is simply gay, or if he really has a page problem similar to Mark Foley. They left without clarifying.
Even in his days in the Ohio House and Senate, Ney was known as someone who got a little too close to his staff. Is he still doing the same thing today. I realize that Ney is going to prison, and I hate to kick a man when he is down, but he is still a sitting member of Congress as he has refused thus far to resign, and the republican led legislature has refused to throw him out.
Don't worry though, I'm sure the republicans are still doing everything possible to protect the children, or at least they will once the election is over.
Update: Ney just resigned.
Was there any more mind-boggling bit of historic bad luck than what happened after Election Day 2000, when those 537 votes in Florida wobbled, then stayed in George W. Bush’s column? Never mind what kind of president Al Gore would have been—he would have been adequate, I suppose, but so would have most Republicans—it is hard now to avoid the conclusion that Bush was precisely the wrong man at the wrong time. Perhaps Bush would have been OK fighting another kind of war, a Jacksonian Battle of New Orleans-type war. But at a moment in history when we faced the most subtle sort of global threat, when we needed not just a willingness to use military force but a leader of real brilliance—someone who would carefully study a little-understood enemy—we got a man who actually took pride in his lack of studiousness. No surprise: Bush never once presided over a grand-strategy session to divine the nature of Al Qaeda, and he ended up lumping Saddam and every Islamist insurgent and terrorist group with Osama bin Laden. He ensured that a tiny fringe group that had been hounded into Afghanistan with no place left to go—one that could have been wiped out had we focused on the task at hand—would spread worldwide and become a generational Islamist threat.
And at a time when we needed a world leader who understood the nuances of burden-sharing in the international system, we got a president who so badly wanted to be a cowboy and not his father (offending even some Texans: "all hat and no cattle" is the term they use down there) that he proudly declared he doesn’t "do nuance." Bush stomped around huffily in his first term, talking loudly and carrying a big stick, in the process all but trashing a half century of carefully nurtured American prestige. No surprise: he alienated a world we desperately needed on our side, thus leaving America alone with all the burden and generations’ worth of bills to pay. Now we face two serious rising threats, North Korea and Iran. And having squandered our attention, resources and prestige on a trumped-up threat, Iraq, we are simply too weak and friendless to confront them as they should be. That’s what I call bad luck.
Sidenote: What's with all the big paragraph writers lately?
The idea is that the right-wing allies would translate the documents and find out where in the hell that sneaky Saddam Hussein had hidden the WMD. It didn't quite work out that way. Today's New York Times reports that there was indeed an old document from before the first Gulf War that would provide valuable information, if you were a rogue nation looking to acquire a nuclear bomb. From the New York Times:
Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, fearing that the information could help states like Iran develop nuclear arms, had privately protested last week to the American ambassador to the agency, according to European diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. One diplomat said the agency’s technical experts “were shocked” at the public disclosures.
The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.
Only a truly moronic group of people would tout putting out this kind of information, in Arabic no less with an Arabic nation currently trying to build such a device, as triumph. The Bush administration is out in full force today, doing just that. You see, this proves that Saddam Hussein had an active WMD program and the mushroom cloud was right around the corner. Only it doesn't.
These are old documents and no serious person today believes that Hussein had an active WMD program when we attacked them in 2003. I do find the timing of the release of these documents curious though, perhaps this is the October surprise Karl Rove has been boasting of. I wouldn't put it past them, you know, risking giving Iran the know how to build a nuclear weapon just to win a few more lousy House seats. Given their past, it just isn't too big of a leap of faith.
A Republican congressman accused of abusing his ex-mistress agreed to pay her about $500,000 in a settlement last year that contained a powerful incentive for her to keep quiet until after Election Day, a person familiar with the terms of the deal told The Associated Press.
What a pompous ass. The only thing he cared about was getting through this election. I guess he figured he is so great that two years from now no one would care about this, if he wins this time, which he will not.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Luckily for the nation, it doesn't look like we're going to have Curt Weldon to kick around much longer. Maybe he can use his newly found free time to go to Iraq and complete that search for weapons of mass destruction he wanted to do.
It has gotten so bad for the Weldon campaign that his latest ads feature people asking voters to give Weldon "the benefit of the doubt." Weldon = Well Done.
Mike Jones told 9 Wants to Know Investigative Reporter Paula Woodward he has had a "sexual business" relationship with Pastor Ted Haggard for the past three years.
Haggard is the founder and senior leader of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. The church has 14,000 members.
He is also president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization that represents millions of people.
Haggard is married with five children and an outspoken critic of gay marriage.
Hmm, do you suspect as much as I do that this guy got into the God business just for the money, much like Robin Parsley? I have a feeling that these guys are starting to realize that politics is even a dirtier business than conning little old ladies out of their money.
The overlying theme will be, what does this mean for Hillary, Hillary, Hillary going into the 2008 presidential election and she will crowned the front runner, person to beat, favorite, or whatever.
Next, politicos from both parties will then seek out any and every qualified female candidate they can find to ride this wave into 2008 when the dynamics of that election are likely to be completely different. American politics is so forward thinking.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
``Female caller stating her husband is knocking her around the house,'' a dispatcher wrote. ``Then she stated `Here it comes, are you ready?' and disconnected the call. Upon call-back, the husband stated no problem ... asked the wife if she wanted to talk. Wife (caller) then got on the phone and stated that she's fine and that she's drunk. Caller sounded intoxicated. She advised that she was endangered for a moment, but everything is fine.''As is protocol, the police sent a cruiser out to investigate. State Trooper Scott Grunsel wrote this in his report. From Albany TU:
``Complainant stated that she and husband got into verbal argument that turned a little physical by her being grabbed by the neck and pushed around the house,'' Gunsel wrote in the narrative portion of the blotter entry, according to the document. ``Suspect had scratches on face. Both parties refused medical attention. Complainant removed to friend's house for the evening ... refused any type of prosicution (sic) arrest.''
The Sweeney campaign says the report is "false and concocted." Well, there is one easy way to prove that. Sweeney has the power to compel the State Police to release the actual documents. Surprisingly, his spokeswoman didn't reply to requests from the Times-Union for Sweeney to do so. Guess she doesn't want a beating.
The best band on the planet that has yet to release a full length album has released a new UK single. Here is the video for Don't Give Up by The Noisettes. If you want to buy the single, try to get your hands on the UK release which has four songs while the American release apparently only contains two tracks. It comes out Nov 13th.